The Idaho Department of Fish and Game has scheduled three mentored waterfowl hunting opportunities for youth aged 10-15.
The Panhandle hunts are planned for September 28, the opening day of the annual youth-only waterfowl season.
The youth season is a special opportunity open only to hunters old enough to purchase a hunting license but younger than 16. This special two-day season was started several years ago to give young hunters an opportunity to hunt waterfowl before the general season opens. Once the general season is open for a few days, the birds tends to scatter and become wary of hunting activity.
The mentored hunting clinics will be at the Boundary Creek Wildlife Management Area west of Bonners Ferry, Heyburn State Park west of St. Maries and the Clark Fork River delta. There is no charge to participate.
Hunting ducks takes a level of knowledge that can best be obtained through experience. The idea behind these mentored hunts is to provide the young participants and their parent (or legal guardian) the opportunity to be paired with an experienced waterfowl hunter who can show them how to hunt ducks and geese.
This quality hunting experience is intended to provide the youth and their guardian with enough training to repeat the experience on their own.
Fish and Game has conducted numerous waterfowl hunting clinics in classroom settings that help new waterfowl hunters learn the ropes. But nothing gets a youngster more hooked on waterfowl hunting than getting into the field near a body of water before daylight to wait for ducks to take flight.
Participation in the mentored hunts requires advance reservations and space is limited. Anyone interested should call to reserve a spot at one of the three hunts and to obtain additional details. For the Boundary Creek and Heyburn hunts, contact Dave Leptich at 769-1414. For the Clark Fork hunt contact Ray Millard at 264-5252.
Young hunters will need to be accompanied by a non-hunting adult and bring a shotgun and ammunition. Fish and Game has a limited number of shotguns that can be borrowed if needed. If a participant needs to borrow one, please make that request when registering.
Young hunters will also need to secure a youth small game license at $7.25, with a migratory bird validation at $1.75, prior to the event and must have the license on them while on the hunt. Federal duck stamps are not required for hunters until the age of 16.
A couple of years ago as we were heading into the field for the youth hunt, I asked my group of hunters if they had their licenses in their pockets. All had purchased licenses, but one forgot to bring his. He was not able to participate because he didn’t have his license with him. That was one disappointed kid. He got up at 3 a.m. to get the Heyburn State Park and had to stay in the car while his friend hunted.
Following a morning hunt, participants in the hunts will be treated to a free barbeque and the opportunity to discuss waterfowl hunting with experienced waterfowlers.
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is also looking for experienced waterfowl hunters willing to assist with the clinics. If you want to help pass on the tradition of waterfowl hunting, please call either of the numbers listed above.
Idaho Department of Fish and Game