Paradise PFA in Berrien County hosted the Outdoor Adventure Day and the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) JAKES Day event on Sept. 26. This event was held in conjunction with and in honor of the 44th annual National Hunting and Fishing Day.
The U.S. Congress and former President Richard Nixon established National Hunting and Fishing Day in 1972 to recognize hunters and anglers for the time and money they donate to wildlife programs across the nation.
Sept. 26 was also free fishing day for all Georgia residents. On this day, residents did not need a fishing license to fish on any public waters in the state, including lakes, streams, ponds and PFAs.
“This is just a great event and something for families to get outdoors and enjoy together,” said Danny Sparks, Senior Regional Director of the NWTF.
Saturday began with a fishing tournament bright and early that morning and with a Casting for Kids contest (ages 15 and younger) at lakes Cup and Saucer. Youngsters who placed in the event move on to another tournament at a different location. Instructional largemouth bass fishing excursions for teens were available at Lake Bowl, and there was also a fishing simulator for kids to enjoy that was sponsored by the Georgia Hunting and Fishing Federation (GHFF).
In addition to fishing activities, a DNR archery range, BB gun range and a skeet range were available for use. WRD provided 12- and 20-gauge shotguns for kids looking for some wing-shooting excitement.
A search and rescue dog demonstration with the DNR Law Enforcement Division was put on to allow both adults and children to see how well trained, yet forceful search and rescue dogs can work.
Steve “The Snake Master” Scruggs put on a show exhibiting all of his snake knowledge, while also allowing kids to hold non-venomous snakes. To add to the rush of seeing real live snakes, Steve displayed several venomous snakes, including a cottonmouth and a timber rattlesnake.
“Danny (Sparks of NWTF) is such a great person, and I can’t thank him enough for allowing me and all of these kids to come out here,” said Steve.
Kids were allowed the chance to experience the thrill of outdoor activities that otherwise they may not have the chance to do. Approximately 600 kids attended the JAKES Day event.
“Once again I just can’t thank everyone enough for helping bring this together, it’s such an amazing opportunity,” said Danny.
Danny hopes participating in the event encouraged children and parents to become more involved in outdoor activities.