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Cocopah Cadets Go Dove Hunting

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“It was fun,” said 11-year-old Anela White, moments after firing a practice shot.

     About a dozen Cocopah boys and girls went dove hunting early Wednesday afternoon as part of the Cocopah Police Department’s youth engagement program.
     “They are never going to forget about this day,” said Officer Justin Keeling, who leads the Cocopah Cadet Program.
     In August, all participating cadets underwent a combined total of 8 hours training in hunter safety with Cocopah Police officers and instructors with the Arizona Department of Game and Fish.
     “It was fun,” said 11-year-old Anela White, moments after firing a practice shot.
     Like most of her fellow cadets, Wednesday night’s outing was the first time she fired a shotgun.
     Under the close, hands-on supervision of police officers and participating parents, each cadet fired off a practice shot using single round shotguns.
     “It’s good. It’s nice for them to experience this,” said 21-year-old Joshua Rodriguez who brought his sons out to participate in the dove hunt.
     Just before the practice rounds and the hunt, each cadet was outfitted with hearing and eye protection.
     Also among the rules for the day, cadets were required to eat the doves they bag.
     Even though there were not as many doves flying compared to the first day of the season---Sept. 1st---one cadet bagged one dove, which was later dressed and cooked at the ramada next to the police department.
     The cadets did not go hungry, though—they had a back up plan which included submarine sandwiches for dinner.
     The Cocopah Police Cadet program started in June. Its mission is to engage tribal children and teach them life skills through educational and fun activities. Since its launch, cadets have gone camping and fishing, taken swimming lessons, participated in an anti-bullying class and went horseback riding at an area non-profit ranch.