Ohio Youth Wild Turkey Hunt

Ohio Youth Wild Turkey Hunt

April 17-19, 2020

The football field hasn’t always been the only type of field you can find Matt Light on, depending on the season he could be in a corn field that contains a tree stand or a blind.  While growing up in Darke County, he found a love for the outdoors and hunting. Sometimes his hobby would get put on hold during his football career of being an offensive lineman for the New England Patriots. Since retirement he has not only spent countless hours hunting deer and calling in turkeys but also teaching the youth how to do so as well through his non-profit organization, The Light Foundation.

Part of The Light Foundation’s mission is to provide the youth with unique outdoor learning experiences that assist them in reaching their highest potential. In 2008, Light decided to add a program that would do just that and more… The Youth Wild Turkey Hunt!

This one of a kind experience takes place in Darke County, which not only encompasses Matt Light’s hometown of Greenville, but is also home of the foundation’s 500+ acre facility named Chenoweth Trails. The hunt takes place the weekend of Ohio’s youth-only turkey season, which is a weekend in April that is determined by ODNR. The applicants that are selected will be paired up with guides. They will stay in the yurts at Chenoweth Trails from Friday night until midday Sunday. The application process is open to any student from Darke County that will be between the ages of 12-17 on the day of the hunt. In addition to filling out an application, the youth that are interested will write an essay or writing assignment on a topic that is chosen by the board. The time to apply is between December and February.

The 16 students that will be selected will need to possess a valid youth hunting license and a turkey permit. They will also complete a training course provided the night before the hunt. We have so many great volunteers that donate their time and show their love for this sport that each youth hunter attending will be accompanied by a non-hunting adult. The guide will make sure they are following safety guidelines, learning about the habitat, and of course making sure the youth are enjoying the thrill of the hunt!

The students will have a chance to bag a bird, but there is no guarantee. The only guarantee is they will learn a lot, meet new friends, and enjoy a weekend in the outdoors.

This event would not be possible without the help of many people in so many categories including sponsors, private landowners, experienced guides, spotters, committee members, taxidermists, gun and blind donors, cooks, and so much more. With everyone’s help this truly becomes a one of a kind opportunity that brings in a record number of applications each year.


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