Manhattan residents awarded for youth instruction


Fishing, hunting and boating have something in common. Besides being outdoors, all of these activities in the state of Kansas are monitored by the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks. The organization had their annual meeting in February to discuss new laws and give awards to distinguished workers for their contribution to Kansas’ wildlife and parks. Manhattan residents Steve Prockish and Ben Jedlicka won Outdoor Skills Instructor awards.

“I was very honored by the award,” said Prockish, a ranger from the Tuttle Creek Corps of Engineers. “A lot of times you see people doing good things across the state, so it meant a lot to me when we received the award.”

The pair has instructed the Tuttle Creek Assisted Deer Hunt for the last five years.

“We meet in June and plan for the event and begin to get the resources,” Prockish said. “We supply hunting licenses and deer permits for all of the hunters, so we start to get the monetary donations in June.”

“Those guys are doing something above and beyond their job,” said Pat Briggs, volunteer from Friends of Fancy Creek Range, Inc. “It is hard to find people who want to volunteer to do that.”

Donations from Friends of Fancy Creek and other local organizations help cover the cost of the hunting experience.

The hunt is organized to improve the deer hunting skills of youth 16 and under and the disabled.

“The hunt makes it possible for handicapped youth to do something they might not be able to do,” Briggs said.

The hunt takes place early in the fall and the instructors help all the participants enhance their skills.

“Before the hunt on the second weekend in September, we have a rifle competency test to make sure all the hunters are confident with their guns,” Prockish said. “We also provide hunting blinds for the hunters and pop up ground blinds for hunters in wheelchairs.”

“We prepare each of our hunters with a guide two weeks before the hunt,” Prockish said. “We also get guides and locations ready.”

The pair are ultimately there to help all the hunters learn more about deer hunting.

“We are there to help them, talk about safety, shop placement and the best hunting locations,” said Prockish.