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Whether you're an experienced hunter or a neophyte nature buff, nothing stirs the blood like sighting in on a well-antlered white-tailed buck as he majestically steps into a clearing early on a crisp, fall morning. Young Texas deer enthusiasts with a sincere "yearning for learning" should make plans to attend one of Texas Cooperative Extension's upcoming Buckskin Brigades. What is the Buckskin Brigade? The Buckskin Brigade is a four day camp for high school students (incoming sophomores, juniors and seniors only) designed to make deer experts out of its members. Cadets are provided intensive training on deer biology and management by leading Texas wildlife and range scientists. After graduation, each member of The Buckskin Brigade is expected to present educational programs on deer management in his/her county of residence.  Why should I attend the Buckskin Brigade? Almost without exception, cadets from past Buckskin Brigades rank this camp as the best they've ever attended! In fact, most return home from the hardest week of work they've ever been through, then work throughout the coming year for the opportunity to return as assistant counselors! What will I learn while at camp? Everything you ever wanted to know about deer, and more! You will study white-tailed deer anatomy, nutrition, biology, habitat management, population dynamics, conservation, hunting techniques, and lots more. In addition to a heaping dose of wildlife ecology, you will also study photography, art, botany, firearm safety, and leadership skills. What do you mean, leadership skills? No matter what you choose as a profession, it will be important for you to develop the ability to think, plan, and present your ideas to others. A major component of The Buckskin Brigade involves developing your ability to tell others in your community about deer conservation and management. Cadets will learn how to write news releases, present educational programs, and even be on radio or TV talking. Is this camp only for 4-H students? No! Anyone who meets the criteria (sophomore, junior or senior classification, "B" grade average) is eligible to apply for this camp. All students with an interest in biology, conservation, and the outdoors are encouraged to apply. How many cadets will be at each camp? There will be a total of 30 cadets from throughout Texas accepted to the ranks of the Buckskin Brigade. Cadets will be grouped into six different "herds" for the camp. Each herd will have an assistant herd leader and an adult herd leader. Where are the camps held? 2002 Buckskin Brigade Camp Dates and Locations are: South Texas; Location TBA, TX: June 2 - June 6, 2002, North Texas; Stasney Cook Ranch, Albany, TX: July 21 - July 25, 2002. How do I apply? Applications can be printed from this website and submitted. Or, you may obtain an application by writing to Buckskin Brigade, c/o Texas Wildlife Association, 401 Isom Rd., Suite 237, San Antonio, TX 78216. Applicants must be incoming high school sophomore, junior, or senior in high school, and have at least a "B" average. Applications are due by April 15 in order to be considered. How will I know if I'm accepted? All applications will be evaluated by a steering committee. That committee selects 30 cadets and two alternates. All applicants are notified following this selection process. Is there any special equipment that I will need for the camp?
Successful applicants will be given a detailed listing of items to bring. Each cadet will be responsible for their own bedroll and toiletries. We ask each cadet to bring a 35 mm camera. We will also be doing some rifle shooting, so if you have shooting glasses, bring them along. We provide the shotguns and ammunition. Is there a fee for attending the camp? Yes. Each cadet pays $180 for the entire camp. The fee covers meals, lodging, and supplies. We encourage you to solicit all or part of the fee from your local Soil and Water Conservation District, bank, civic group, or conservation organization. The Buckskin Brigade will help you locate a sponsor if requested. For more information contact Helen Holdsworth or Tamara Trail.