An article in our local paper says it all:
Orrington deer hunt rifle raffle successful
By BDN Staff
Thursday, December 13, 2007 - Bangor Daily News
In the weeks before deer hunters headed into the woods this fall, Bob Bastey — owner of Bob’s Kozy Korner in Orrington — came up with an idea to spice up the season.
This wasn’t going to be your typical "big buck" contest, either. This one was just for the kids.
Bastey said he had noticed an alarming trend and wanted to address it.
"I’ve seen such a decline in hunting in this area in the last few years," Bastey said. "I thought it would be good if we promoted participation by young hunters and got them active, back out with their parents."
So Bastey ran out and bought a .308 Savage rifle with a scope, hung it on the wall of his store, and put up some posters.
Any junior hunter who tagged a deer at the Kozy Korner would have a chance at winning the rifle. And even those who didn’t would receive a free contest hat.
On Tuesday, Bastey proudly handed over the rifle to 13-year-old Nick Ireland of Orrington, who tagged a 110-pound deer Nov. 22.
"You should have seen him," Bastey said. "His father said, ‘It looks like someone won that rifle.’ Nick said, ‘Oh, really? I wonder who that was,’" Bastey said.
That’s when the store-owner walked up behind Ireland, tapped him on the shoulder and told him the good news.
"I said, ‘That would be you, young man,’" Bastey said.
In all, 19 young hunters entered the contest. Bastey said he got a lot of positive feedback from Orrington schools, who said the contest hats became a conversation-starter for many when hunters began proudly wearing them to school.
"When they went to school, they had the hat on. It was like, ‘Oh. Did you get a deer? How big was he?’" Bastey said.
Bastey said he thinks getting young hunters involved in the sport can reverse a trend, and a new generation can start educating increasingly reluctant landowners to allow access to prime deer-hunting areas.
"I think if we can get the youth back involved in it and show landowners that they are respectful, they aren’t going to destroy things, that’s a positive thing," Bastey said. "That was the whole process behind it."
The largest deer entered in the contest was a monstrous 245-pounder tagged by Christian LaCouture of Orrington.
Bastey initially bought the rifle himself, but received an unsolicited donation of $200 from members of the Bucksmills Rod & Gun Club in Bucksport to help defray the cost of the gun.
Bastey said the contest was a huge success, and he looked forward to holding a similar promotion next year.
"We’ll do it again next year," Bastey said. "It’s really a lot of fun. It’s great. I saw more kids during hunting season this year than I did in previous years."
The young men in this story arent strangers, dangerous thugs with weapons. They are our friends. David's, who has been a friend for years and years, his son won the rifle. His boy Nick will be raised to understand the power of that weapon, and the heritage of hunting. Sadly, his Uncle Dennis died a few years ago and wasnt here to see this. Dennis' daughter was the little one who designed our Buddy Walk shirts this year, a Kindergartner. The kid who tagged the big buck? His name is Christian, and you can probably see his picture in the photos from Jesse's paintball birthday. Great kid, helluva shot. I wonder what causes the big divide, where some kids have guns and use them for bad, and some have guns and use them to help feed their families? What change occurs in the handing over of that gun to a boy? Where are the fathers and the uncles to teach these young men how to BE men? It is a shame that in many parts of the United States, people would read this story and imagine young men with guns in an entirely different light. THESE young men are being taught the right way. Wether or not you believe in hunting, trust that they are being handed down values and morals that instill in them an awareness of life and a respect for their own power to take it.
My son proudly wears his BKK hat to school, and talks about his deer, and the guns he has, and his dad and he hunting together, and that moose trip up to Mooselookmeguntic Lake, and he even...gasp...DRAWS pictures with guns in them. Sometimes it seems we are in a whole other world, when I hear about kindergartners getting suspended for drawing guns. We are at war, and kids have to deal with that. And they cant talk about, write about, or acknowledge guns? Im awfully glad we live here, where wearing your BKK hat makes you the big kid on campus. I wonder how long it will take for people from away to take that from us?