First-time youth turkey hunters ages 12 to 17 have the chance to go afield this spring and learn from an experienced National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) volunteer.

“Youth turkey hunters and their guardians will learn life-long outdoor skills and how to be a responsible hunter,” said Mike Kurre, mentoring program coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). “The outdoor coaches of the NWTF are helping create the next generation of hunters.”

Applications, maps and general information for the wild turkey hunt are available online at www.mndnr.gov/youthturkey. Application deadline is midnight on Monday, Feb. 19. Participants will be selected through a random lottery.

This is the 11th consecutive year the DNR and the NWTF have cooperated to mentor first-time youth turkey hunters. Nearly 2,000 youth have been introduced to this hunting experience since spring youth turkey hunts began in 2002.

Most hunts will be Saturday, April 20, and Sunday, April 21, which is the first weekend of the regular wild turkey season. Nearly all youth will hunt on private land due to permission of private landowners and the NWTF volunteers who obtained the permission.

To be eligible, a youth hunter must be age 12 to 17 on or before Saturday, April 20; have a valid firearms safety certificate; and be accompanied by a parent or guardian. The program is for first-time turkey hunters only. Any youth who has ever purchased or been selected by lottery for a Minnesota turkey license of any type is not eligible.

Hunters and their mentors will be assigned a NWTF volunteer coach, who must accompany both the youth and parent/guardian throughout the entire hunt.

Participation in the hunts is restricted by the number volunteers and private land available. If anyone is interested in providing quality turkey hunting land for the mentored youth hunts, contact a NWTF chapter online at http://www.nwtf.org/in_your_state/lists.php?STATE=MN

Logo courtesy Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

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