If the sport of hunting dies from lack of participation by today's youth, it won't be because of the Last Chance Hunting Club.

Every year, the club hosts kids and grandkids for the annual youth weekend at their Jefferson County, Miss., lease, and members do a tremendous job making the kids the center of attention.

'A lot of clubs won't do this,' club president Bimbo Brock said. 'They won't have the wives and kids up to the club, but for us, this is about so much more than deer hunting.'

This season's youth weekend was a microcosm of what is so special about the South in general and the sport of hunting in particular.

The chill of a November evening was chased away by a massive pot of chicken and sausage gumbo that tasted better than anything served at New Orleans' finest restaurants.

Kids of every age ran around on the gravel at the center of the camp, throwing balls and sticks and playing chase, while their parents chatted and laughed in the club's tin-covered and walled social area.

The anticipation of the morning's hunt wisped through the air with the gentle northerly breeze, and the dry air was electric with the hope and promise of the happy hours yet to come.

But the wait would prove to be just a little longer than the kids had hoped.

The morning's hunt was slow, as club members had predicted in whispers to each other the evening before. A waxing moon had shone through a crystal-clear sky, giving the deer plenty of time to fill their bellies.

A few deer were seen, but not a single one was deemed worthy of a shot.

Club members promised the kids the evening's hunt would be an entirely different story, and they couldn't have been more right.

All of the dozen or so kids who elected to sit stands saw deer, and shots rang out like opening morning in a duck marsh.

There were more misses than hits, but Brayden Knight, 5, shot the first buck of his life, and Brandon Crochet, 14, and Sean Turner, 8, each dropped a doe.

The parents and kids had a massive party to celebrate, eating ridiculously good pastalaya and hooting and hollering as they watched LSU beat Alabama.

It was the type of night that is unforgettable, particularly for young, impressionable minds. For the kids and grandkids of Last Chance Hunting Club, deer hunting and deer-camp life isn't something they see on TV.

They've lived it, and they know that few things in life are any better.

The most incredible thing about the club is they're serious about growing trophy bucks, and they've got the mounts on the wall to prove it. But they're more serious about giving the kids the time of their lives.

Remarkably, they drop their management rules for the youth weekend. If a child sees a deer and wants to shoot it, he shoots it.

And when the hunter returns to camp with his trophy, it doesn't matter if it's a spike, button buck or doe, club members make the youngster feel like Alexander the Great returning with the spoils of war.