Tuesday, January 31st, 2023
Tuesday, January 31st, 2023

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Youth takes special banded goose

By Freddie McKnight Southcentral
Correspondent

Mapleton, Pa. — For a child, it can seem like an eternity must
pass before the arrival of the magical age of 12 – the legal
hunting age in the state of Pennsylvania.

Such was the case for Tim Clevenger Jr. The Huntingdon County
youth watched his father and other hunters come and go from the
woods and eagerly waited the day when he could head afield to be
part of this fraternity.

Timmy, as his parents affectionately call him, turned 12 on Jan.
4, 2006, and he was ready for his first hunt. He had grown up in a
hunting family and was accustomed to seeing the animals taken by
his family and friends. Because his family runs a deer-processing
facility at their home in Mapleton Depot, he had heard more than
his share of yarns being spun.

It was through the deer-processing business that the family met
Eric Crawford, who resides in the Hershey area. Crawford hunts in
the Blacklog Valley region of Huntingdon County and takes the deer
he harvests to the Clevengers for processing.

Small talk with this client blossomed into a first hunting
opportunity for Timmy as arrangements were made to go goose hunting
on a lease that Crawford had just outside the famed chocolate
town.

Jan. 14 finally arrived and, according to Tim Clevenger Sr.,
“Timmy was more than ready to go hunting.” According to the elder
Clevenger, the day dawned warm with an early morning temperature of
58. The weather forecast was calling for a front to move through,
bringing with it the chance of rain and falling temperatures. It
was just about as good as it gets for waterfowling.

After setting up more than 150 decoys, the group of hunters
headed for a pit blind in the field. The group consisted of Tim and
Timmy Clevenger, Eric Crawford and Eric’s brother and one of his
friends. After daylight, the geese started winging their way
through the air with several groups coming into the spread.
Numerous shots were fired, but young Timmy had yet to connect with
his first-ever game animal.

Timmy was on one end of the pit when a flock of geese came in on
his side. He shot several times and a goose fell to the ground.
Excited about his first kill, Timmy went to retrieve the bird. He
ran back towards the pit yelling, “It’s banded!”

While this is not unusual, it was not until Timmy got the bird
back to the pit that the group began to realize the significance of
the event. The band on this bird was a Jack Miner band.

Jack Miner, dubbed the Father of Conservation, was born in Ohio
but moved to Kingsville, Ontario, Canada, in 1878. He was
instrumental in numerous wildlife conservation efforts, but his
biggest contribution came through waterfowl.

He banded his first duck in 1909 and thus pioneered migration
tracking. He also founded the Jack Miner Bird Sanctuary in 1904, an
agency that still lives on to this day. Jack Miner died on Nov. 3,
1944, but his work lives on through the foundation he started.

After reporting the band to the agency, Timmy received a packet
of information in the mail about the agency. He also received a
highly prized certificate for his achievement. Since 2000, only
four Jack Miner Foundation banded geese have been taken in
Pennsylvania. One was shot in 2000, two were killed in 2003, and
Timmy’s in 2006.

According to the information, Timmy’s goose was one of 131
lesser Canada geese captured and banded at the agency headquarters
in Canada on Nov. 1, 2004. The band number was 99428-04 and, in
keeping with the tradition that Jack Miner started in 1915, the
band had a verse of scripture inscribed on it. In this case it was
Mark 11:22.

Some veteran waterfowlers who have talked with Timmy since his
first hunt say he has yet to realize the significance of the
event.

Hunters from all over the world travel to various parts of the
Atlantic and Mississippi River flyways in hopes of taking a bird
with such a band. They are a highly prized possession of serious
waterfowlers and some have been sold on the popular Web site ebay
for as much as $1,500.

Young Timmy is not likely to ever forget his first hunt. He
still wears a smile from ear to ear as he talks about the hunt and
displays the prized band, still attached to the foot of the goose
that wore it.

To learn more about the Jack Miner Foundation, visit the Web
site at www.jackminer.com.

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