By: David Gregory, Wildlife Resources Division Senior Wildlife Biologist
The Wildlife Resources Division hosted its Pickens County Sportsmans Club Kids Fishing Event this past weekend. This 3-day fishing rodeo was started in 1987 by now Game Management Tech IV Mitch Yeargin, and reaches kids both young and old. Still coordinated by Mitch, the Division pulls together with several folks from Game Management, Law Enforcement and Fisheries Management to host the event.
Mitch works with the local community to invite mentally challenged individuals to fish on the first day (Thursday). On day two, nursing homes from both Pickens and Cherokee Counties bring van and bus loads of their elderly residents to fish. On Saturday (day three) kids are invited to fish. Over 750 participated over the course of the event, and nearly 100 people are introduced to the sport of fishing for the first time every year! The site is well stocked, to ensure everyone catches a fish and has a great time. The therapy of getting outdoors and fishing is priceless. As such, Mitch and the rest of WRD has taken a large group of people who are experiencing some difficulties in their lives, and created a positive opportunity to heal and grow.
Great stories are shared every year. One story from this year’s nursing home day on May 11th included meeting 91-year old Jim Robinson. Jim started his career as a State Game Warden for Wisconsin, before retiring as a Federal Game Warden in 1970, where he was in charge of the state of Kansas. One of his best stories involved the arrest of a well known Chicago mobster for a Lacey violation involving transport of 150 illegally taken white wing doves from the State of Texas. The picture attached is of Cpl. James Keener and 91 year old Jim Robinson. Goes to show you never know who you will meet.