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Delta's Youngest Committee Member Making a Difference for Ducks, Duck Hunters

At just 12, Tori Morse speaks about conservation and hunting like someone with more years under her belt. As Canada's youngest Delta Waterfowl committee member she is a representation of what the organization's hunting advocacy work is all about.

"Her enthusiasm is infectious and she is a reminder of why we are involved in this great organization," said Port Rowan committee chair Mike Kunkel. "We could not have had a better representative at our youth prize table at our banquet."

Tori, who hails from Woodstock, ON, talks about hunting and conservation to other students every chance she gets. When the annual elementary public speaking competition came around two years ago in Grade 5, she did her speech on Delta, hunting and conservation. "I think it woke a lot of kids up," she said. "They noticed there was a lot of problems with predators and an overpopulation of geese."

Tori doesn't just speak about conservation in the theoretical sense - she lends her part to help. When her father goes out to erect Delta's hen houses on area wetlands, she lends a hand. Tori is the Port Rowan Delta committee's youth representative and helped with the youth draw and other raffles the night of the banquet. She's also been tagging along on her father Mark's hunts since she was seven.

"If we don't have kids like Tori, there will be nobody to carry it on," he said. "She's trying to teach other kids why, if they don't hunt, why we should."

Some of Tori's classmates are impressed. Others, not so much. "There are some kids who say it's so cool you get to do that kind of stuff," she said. "Other kids don't like the fact I hunt."

Mark has been a longtime fan of Delta. In fact, it's the reason he started hunting six years ago. "For a long time, I was an anti-hunter, but I always liked what Delta did with research and science," he said. "I was always interested in wildlife management. The more I read about wildlife management, I just started to get it into my head that I should join the cause before we have serious problems."

Contacts Mark made through Delta, such as Craig and Scott McDonald of Kingsville, were a tremendous help teaching both Mark and Tori about hunting. The McDonalds are champion callers and convinced Tori to enter youth calling contests the past few years. She has finished as high as second place in the duck competition.

Mark tried to start a Delta chapter in Woodstock with no avail. He decided to join the Port Rowan chapter earlier this year, and Tori was on board with him.

Mark was impressed with how the committee members treated his daughter. "They really enjoy having Tori around and have a lot of fun with her," he said. "They let her run the youth raffle and help with the draw for the boat and bucket raffle."

Tori has been a past participant in the National Wild Turkey Federation's youth weekend and, at the time of writing, was early into her first hunting season as a licensed apprentice hunter and looking for her first duck or goose. She recently took part in the youth waterfowl hunt at Long Point this fall. Delta is a co-sponsor of that event.

Down the road, she hopes for a career in a wildlife-related field. In the near future, Tori wants to take part in the Young Wildlife Biologist Workshop, organized by Dr. Scott Petrie of the Long Point Waterfowl and Wetlands Research Fund, who is a former research assistant with Delta.
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