Kynlee Buras of Livingston (right) along with her father, Rusty Buras, had a great day deer hunting despite not bringing home anything.
Evan Alderson of Sulphur harvested his first squirrel during a hunt with his uncle, Mark Bloodworth, and cousin, Mason Bloodworth.

2018 Youth Hunters Of The Year Kynlee Buras, Evan Alderson Enjoy More Than Just The Pursuit Of Game


story by Trey Iles, LDWF Public Information


On the surface, the primary object of hunting is to harvest game in a sportsmanlike manner. But to focus only on that aspect discounts the many other pleasures of the sport.


Kynlee Buras and Evan Alderson discovered this early in their lives. There’s more to hunting than firing a gun or bow at preferred prey. There’s the food, Vienna sausage during the hunt and good gumbo after. There’s the fellowship, hunting with family and friends and forging lifetime memories. And being completely taken in by the great outdoors and the beauty therein.


Those are the stories Buras and Alderson tell of their hunts. Seasoned hunters can relate.


The duo was selected as the 2018 Louisiana Female and Male Youth Hunters of the Year. The Youth Hunter of the Year Program is a joint effort with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Louisiana Wildlife Federation and Louisiana Outdoors Writers Association.


Buras, from Livingston, and Alderson, from Sulphur, received their awards at the 55th Governor’s State Conservation Achievement Awards Banquet in April at Ashley Manor in Baton Rouge, which is hosted by Louisiana Wildlife Federation.


The Youth Hunter of the Year program is made possible by generous donations from Baton Rouge Chapter of Delta Waterfowl, Andrew Harrison, Jr. with Harrison Law, LLC, Bowie Outfitters in Baton Rouge, Outdoor Roots, and South LA Branch of the Quality Deer Management Association.


Buras, 8, and the female winner, proved during her two November 2018 deer hunting trips with father, Rusty, that you don’t necessarily have to bring anything home for it to be successful. On both trips while hunting in Utica, Mississippi, Kynlee and Rusty saw deer but didn’t harvest one.


On their initial trip, the duo saw a doe before arriving at the deer stand but were not in a position to get off a shot. They waited about an hour and 20 minutes in the deer stand with no success when Kynlee told her father she was tired and had had enough.


The second trip was more of a success but the father-daughter duo still wasn’t able to harvest a deer. After about 30 minutes in the deer stand, four deer appeared.


“I was flabbergasted when I saw them,’’ Kynlee said. “I got ready to shoot but the deer must have heard me because all of them ran away.’’


Later, a doe appeared and Rusty advised Kynlee to wait until it came closer to the stand.


“I waited for her to get closer to the deer feeder but she kept getting farther and farther away and walked into the woods,’’ Kynlee said. “I was astonished that the deer went in the woods.’’


But Kynlee said even though they weren’t able to take anything home, she enjoyed the time spent with her father and in the woods. She said she’s a deer hunter for life now.


“I was sad (that they weren’t able to harvest a deer),’’ Kynlee said. “But I can’t wait to go hunting next year. The two main reasons that I enjoy hunting are that I get to admire God’s beautiful creation and spend time with my daddy. I will treasure those moments forever.’’


Alderson, 11, and the male winner, was successful on his first hunt, which occurred on Nov. 24, 2018. Alderson took a squirrel hunting trip with his uncle, Mark Bloodworth, and cousin, Mason Bloodworth, on Mark’s hunting lease in Slagle.


They journeyed out in the morning before dawn broke.


“I was a little scared at first because it was still dark when we arrived at the lease,’’ Alderson said. “I asked Mason if we were going to be hunting in the dark and he told me we were going to wait until it was light to begin. I was nervous at first because we weren’t seeing anything.’’


Finally, Alderson saw something and he took aim. His first shot was true but it wasn’t a squirrel.


“As we were walking I thought I saw a squirrel on a tree and I shot at it only to discover that it was actually a bump on the tree,’’ Alderson said. “Uncle Mark said, ‘I think you just shot a tree.’ It was good practice shooting, I guess.’’


Later that morning, Alderson thought he spotted a squirrel. This time it actually was and he was able to harvest game on his first hunt, using his uncle’s 20-gauge shotgun.


“I started shaking and shot at it,’’ Alderson said. “I was so excited that I kept shaking more and more. It fell out of the tree.’’


The hunt continued and the trio walked through the woods. They took a break, sat on a fallen log and enjoyed a snack of Vienna sausages. They continued the hunt but saw nothing and decided to head back where they cleaned the squirrel.


“I helped skin it,’’ Alderson said. “Uncle Mark put it in the freezer for later. A few months later, he had enough squirrels to make a squirrel gumbo. It was delicious.’’


Additional Information


For more information on the Youth Hunter of the Year program, visit

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