I recently tracked down and spoke to a person who had a huge impact on me, and likely never knew it.
He is the reason I was in the paper for the very first time! It was an Oklahoma game warden believe or not. Not just any game warden though, he was a sort of super hero to me. Made me feel like a million bucks and on top of the world. He was kind, informative, and took an interest in my weird gangly 12-year-old self. His name is Paul Cornett, former Caddo County Game Warden.
You never forget your first hunt. I could tell you the details of mine from what I was wearing, to the exact conversations I had with my dad, to the exact feeling I had when that doe stopped broadside in that field near Fort Cobb lake in Caddo Co. The year was '99 and it was my first deer. She didn't bleed but a tiny pinhead size drop, and we found her 50 yds away.
A special youth hunt was organized due to extreme crop damage and an unusually high number of vehicle-deer accidents. The hunt was for 12-14 year olds and I had just turned 12. I was drawn in!
Mr. Cornett talked to me during our orientation, likely because I was the only girl there in a sea of boys. He gave me so much confidence before my hunt and told me to let him know how it turned out. Coincidentally he was actually at the check-in station when we drove up with my deer. He was so kind and bragged on me like I had just won a gold medal. Well to me I had. I thought I was so cool because a warden was talking to me! I went back home and wrote him a thank you letter. He actually took the time to write me back, and posted my letter in the local paper. I was on cloud-nine and in my mind...famous! I kept these letters, newspaper clippings, receipts from the trip, my tag, the maps, and much more in my scrapbook. I recently came back across all this and wanted to share it with y'all!
I cannot tell you how much I love seeing all the pictures of hunters taking kids out during these youth seasons. You may not understand the impact that it has on them, but I can tell you from experience, it's life changing! Thank you to Mr. Cornett for just being you and caring about our youth. Thank you for taking the time to write me this incredible letter that I cherish. And thank you for putting me in the paper! My love of the outdoors blossomed from that point on. Here are the letters and clippings.