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Pennsylvania Families Afield Bill Heads to Governor’s Desk

May 17, 2013

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A bill that would expand the popular Mentored Youth Hunting program in Pennsylvania to allow adult participation recently passed the legislature and is awaiting approval of Gov. Tom Corbett. The bill, Senate Bill 623, introduced by Sens. Jake Corman (R-Bellefonte) and Wayne Fontana (D-Pittsburgh), allows...

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‘Outdoor Journal’ Goes Fishing & Electrofishing, Youngsters Learn Hunting Skills

May 14, 2013

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On Tuesday, May 21, at 7:30 p.m., “VPT’s Outdoor Journal” will air the final episode of its new season.  November’s annual Frostbite Fleet Salmon Shootout challenges hardy Lake Champlain anglers.  Viewers will meet some friends who participate in the derby. A story about electrofishing shows...

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Make the Most of Your Child’s Big Game Hunting Opportunities in Oregon

May 9, 2013

Make the Most of Your Child’s Big Game Hunting Opportunities in Oregon

Many parents don’t know it but youth (ages 12-17) are guaranteed a controlled buck, antlerless deer and elk tag (100, 600 and 200 series) before they turn 18 under a special program called the “First Time Hunt” program. Here is how the program works:

  • Youth must apply in the regular controlled hunt draw (deadline May 15) and not draw a tag.
  • Once a youth draws a tag in a series, they are no longer eligible for the “First Time Hunt” program for that series.
  • After failing to draw a tag, youth should apply for a guaranteed First Time Hunt from July 1-Sept. 1.
  • Fill out the application and submit to Licensing Division from July 1-Sept. 1.
  • Youth must choose a hunt that meets the minimum tag allocation (at least 201 tags for buck deer/100 series hunts and 51 tags for elk/200 series and antlerless deer/600 series hunts). ODFW posts eligible hunts on the First Time Hunt page in late June of each year.

“First time” tags are only for fully hunter education certified youth. Youth hunting under this program may not hunt under the Mentored Youth Hunter Program for that particular hunt for that year. “First time” hunts are also not extra tags; youth are still limited to the maximum number of tags per series per year.

Maximize your child’s preference points

Avid hunter and software engineer Ron Wold runs the free Oregon Tag Draw Percentages website to help hunters figure out their chances each year. Recently he received a question on hunt 175T (Interstate Unit), a sought-after youth hunt.

“The question was, how could this hunt require seven preference points, given that it’s a youth hunt and a kid could only have acquired five preference points by age 17, their last year of eligibility,” says Wold. “But by age 17, any kid who went after every preference point could have 13 or more preference points to put towards a series.”

Here’s how: by applying for point savers beginning at age 9 and participating in the Mentored Youth Hunter Program (MYHP) each year from age 9-13. Though 12 is the minimum age for kids to hunt big game on their own tag, they may start applying for point savers at age 9. (A hunting license is required, only $14.50 for resident youth and $19.50 for non-resident youth.)

Also, thanks to a new program that allows hunters to purchase point savers from July 1-Nov. 30 each year, any kid that turns 9 by Nov. 30 can purchase a point saver for that year. “It used to be that kids born after May 15 were out of luck on getting a preference point for that year,” said Wold. “But that isn’t the case anymore.”(ODFW put the program in place last year to enable people to spread the cost of licenses and tags throughout the year. A mail order application for a 2013 point saver will be available online by July 1.)

So simply by applying for points savers each year, a youth could have nine points by age 17, the last year of eligibility for youth hunts.

Participating in the Mentored Youth Hunter Program each year from age 9-13 can net kids additional points. Each calendar year (Jan. 1-Dec. 31) that a youth registers for the program, he or she banks one MYHP preference point for that year. (MYHP registration is free and all done online or at a license sales agent or ODFW office that sells licenses.)

Some special rules apply to these MYHP points. They are banked separately from regular preference points until a youth fills out this Request to Redeem form. When redeeming MYHP points, a youth must put them all towards one hunt series.

MYHP points remain banked until the Request to Redeem is received and processed by ODFW Licensing. These special points don’t expire and youth may redeem them after they turn age 18. Once redeemed, MYHPs operate just like regular preference points.

“In a few years, it’s possible that some of the premiere youth hunts could require 11 or more points to draw,” says Wold. “Only youth who enrolled in these programs early on will be eligible so folks in the know on how these points work will have a big advantage.”

Read and join the discussion on Make the Most of Your Child’s Big Game Hunting Opportunities in Oregon at OutdoorHub.com.

Sign Up Now for Youth Hunter Education Challenge in Vermont

May 8, 2013

Sign Up Now for Youth Hunter Education Challenge in Vermont

There are still openings at the NRA Youth Hunter Education Challenge. This annual event will be held from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 18, at the Caledonia Forest & Stream Club in St. Johnsbury, VT. This free event offers young hunters the chance to practice their skills in firearms, archery, wildlife identification and land navigation. Participants will compete in two age divisions and a trophy will awarded to the winner in each category.  The winners will also be eligible for entry in the International Youth Hunter Education Challenge being held in Raton, New Mexico.

The Youth Hunter Education Challenge is open to all youth under 19 years of age who have completed hunter education. Mentors, parents and guardians are encouraged to attend. Pre-registration is required by May 15, 2013. To register, email Mary Childs at mary.childs@state.vt.us. This event is co-sponsored by the Friends of the National Rifle Association and the Vermont Bearhound Association.

“This  event underscores the importance of youth hunters to the future of hunting in Vermont,” said Christopher Saunders, Vermont Fish & Wildlife hunter education coordinator. “But more importantly, it offers plenty of learning and fun for young hunters and their families.”

Read and join the discussion on Sign Up Now for Youth Hunter Education Challenge in Vermont at OutdoorHub.com.

North Carolina Youth Hunter Education Skills Tournament Crowns 2013 Champions

April 29, 2013

North Carolina Youth Hunter Education Skills Tournament Crowns 2013 Champions

Teams from Gray Stone Day School and Park Ridge Christian School were big winners at the 2013 Youth Hunter Education Skills Tournament, the pre-collegiate shooting sports state championship, held Saturday by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission at Millstone 4-H Center in Richmond County.

Skills competed in team and individual categories for rifle, shotgun, archery and compass on senior (high school) and junior (middle and elementary schools) divisional levels, with overall team and individual awards based on aggregate scores in all events.

The Gray Stone “Garnet” team won the senior division with an overall score of 3,839 out of a possible 4,000, while Park Ridge won the junior division with of overall score of 3,635. Both schools are in Stanly County. A list of all award winners is available at www.ncwildlife.org.

There were 575 students from 55 schools participating in this year’s tournament, having advanced from nine district events across the state where there was combined participation by more than 2,700 students from 271 schools.

“The competitors are a great reflection of hunting, conservation and the outdoor recreational community. These kids are exemplary in their skills and commitment,” said Travis Casper, the state hunting education coordinator and tournament director. “The competition is based on demonstrating the basic elements of hunter education, the same things that are taught in courses offered free by the Wildlife Commission to the general public throughout the year.”

The Fred Rorrer Trophy, which recognizes sportsmanship among competitors, was presented to Piedmont High School, of Monroe, in Union County. The trophy honors its namesake, a longtime hunting education instructor with the Wildlife Commission who died unexpectedly in October 2010. Rorrer is remembered for his dedication to conservation and leadership in the youth tournaments, where he helped bolster North Carolina teams and individuals to the top levels of national competition.

Overall attendance, including spectators, staff and competitors at the tournament, was estimated to be nearly 3,200. The Commission’s Hunter Education Program holds the tournaments as an opportunity for youth to showcase outdoor skills and demonstrate safety. Teams are organized within public and private schools, while home-schooled students and teams representing organizations such as 4-H or FFA also can compete, provided they meet eligibility requirements.

Hunter education is required for all first-time hunting license buyers in North Carolina. For more information on free hunter education courses, the Home From The Hunt™ safety campaign or the many different youth and adult programs offered by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, call 919-707-0031 or go to www.ncwildlife.org.

Read and join the discussion on North Carolina Youth Hunter Education Skills Tournament Crowns 2013 Champions at OutdoorHub.com.

Maryland DNR to Host Junior Hunter Field Days in June

April 24, 2013

Maryland DNR to Host Junior Hunter Field Days in June

Events in Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Queen Anne’s and Somerset counties

Who: Youth ages 8-16

When & Where: Saturdays in June, Across the State

Cost: Free

Youth with an interest in hunting, shooting sports and wildlife management are invited to participate in a regional summer Junior Hunter Field Day event. Staff from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and representatives from sporting and conservation groups will use hand-on activities to teach participants about natural resources stewardship, wildlife biology, shooting safety and ethical conduct in the field.

Junior hunters will learn about archery, sporting clays and hunting with dogs, with professionals in a safe, mentored setting. All equipment will be provided, with certified instructors overseeing all shooting activities.

Junior Hunter Field Days by County:

  • Anne Arundel: June 8 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Meyer Station. For a registration form, click here or contact the Wildlife and Heritage Service Myrtle Grove Office at 301-743-5161.
  • Baltimore: June 1 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Baltimore Co. Game & Fish Protective Association. For a registration form, click here or contact the Wildlife and Heritage Service Bel Air Office at 410-836-4559.
  • Queen Anne’s: June 1from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Sudlersville Skeet Club. For a registration form, click here or contact the Wildlife and Heritage Service Millington office at 410-490-6554.
  • Somerset: June 15from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Somerset County Fair Grounds. For a registration form,click here or contact the Wildlife and Heritage Service Wellington Office at 410-219-8418.

Lunch is free for all participants and their parents/guardians. Registration is required and is limited.For more on other Junior Hunter Field Day events, click here.

Read and join the discussion on Maryland DNR to Host Junior Hunter Field Days in June at OutdoorHub.com.

Youth Hunter Education Challenge Returns to South Dakota

April 24, 2013

Youth Hunter Education Challenge Returns to South Dakota

Young hunters will get a chance to demonstrate both their shooting abilities and their knowledge of conservation at the 2013 Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC) June 15 in Mitchell.

South Dakota youth who participate in the daylong event will compete in two age divisions and eight separate shooting sports and outdoor skills tests. Events range from firearm and archery proficiency to orienteering and wildlife identification. All rules and regulations will follow National Rifle Association International rules as much as possible.

“YHEC is designed to promote youth participation in the shooting sports, hunting and overall knowledge of the outdoors,” said Gary Stadlman, South Dakota YHEC Coordinator. “This is a test to see how we have done as HuntSAFE instructors, and I would encourage any youngsters who have completed their HuntSAFE classes to participate in this year’s event.”

All registrants must be at least 12 years old, hunter-education certified and have parent or guardian approval. An adult coach or parent/guardian must be present at the event. For registration information, interested individuals should email outdoorprogramming@gmail.com. For general information, phone Gary Stadlman at 605-227-4286

The 2013 YHREC event is sponsored by the South Dakota Shooting Sports-YHEC Committee and the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks.

Read and join the discussion on Youth Hunter Education Challenge Returns to South Dakota at OutdoorHub.com.

Youth Hunters Find Success During 2013 Ohio Youth Wild Turkey Season

April 22, 2013

Youth Hunters Find Success During 2013 Ohio Youth Wild Turkey Season

Many young hunters found success during Ohio’s 2013 youth spring wild turkey season after 1,784 birds were harvested, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

Hunters age 17 and under were eligible to participate in the two-day season, April 20-21. The total harvest was a 9 percent increase from 2012, when 1,632 wild turkeys were checked.

The counties that reported the most checked wild turkeys during the 2013 youth spring season were: Monroe (56), Muskingum (54), Ashtabula (52), Jefferson (52), Coshocton (51), Belmont (49), Knox (48), Guernsey (48), Tuscarawas (48) and Washington (47).

All participants were required to possess a valid Ohio youth hunting license and youth spring turkey permit, and must have been accompanied by a non-hunting adult. The youth turkey season was open statewide with the exception of Lake La Su An State Wildlife Area in Williams County, which required a special hunting permit.

The youth spring turkey season is one of four special youth-only hunting seasons designed by the ODNR Division of Wildlife to offer a safe and productive early hunting experience for young hunters. Special seasons are also set aside for upland game, white-tailed deer and waterfowl hunting opportunities.

The spring turkey season begins Monday, April 22, and closes Sunday, May 19. The spring turkey season is open statewide except for Lake La Su An Wildlife Area. Find more information in the 2012-2013 Ohio Hunting and Trapping Regulations, available where licenses are sold, and at wildohio.com.

Ohio’s first modern day wild turkey season opened in 1966 in nine counties, and hunters checked 12 birds. The total number of harvested turkeys topped 1,000 for the first time in 1984. Turkey hunting was opened statewide in 2000.

Watch Governor John Kasich and ODNR Director James Zehringer share a message to hunters for the start of wild turkey season here: http://bit.ly/WildTurkeyHuntingWelcome/.

Read and join the discussion on Youth Hunters Find Success During 2013 Ohio Youth Wild Turkey Season at OutdoorHub.com.

West Virginia’s Spring Gobbler Season Opens April 22, 2013

April 18, 2013

West Virginia’s Spring Gobbler Season Opens April 22, 2013

The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources encourages all spring gobbler hunters to get their turkey calls out and tuned up in preparation for the upcoming season opener. The four-week season begins Monday, April 22, and closes on Saturday, May 18, 2013. Hunters may kill only one bearded turkey per day and are allowed two per season.

“Unlike 2012, when spring green-up came early, this year winter is still hanging on and very few trees have leaves out yet,” according to Curtis I. Taylor, chief of the Division of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Section.  “Therefore, the late appearance of spring will likely increase the distance hunters can hear a gobbler. However, the peak of gobbling occurs near the end of April or early May as hens go to incubate their clutches, so hunters shouldn’t be surprised if they hear more birds at that time. Gobblers will also be more willing to come to calls once hens have gone to incubate their clutches so hunters should continue hunting as the season progresses.

“More than 50 percent of the harvest occurs during the first week of the season, so hopefully it won’t be snowing like it did last year,” Taylor said. “While the snow has little effect on the gobblers, it definitely makes it more difficult on the hunters, which was one reason the harvest was down in 2012. Assuming that the weather cooperates and the approximately 65,000 spring gobbler hunters participate, we believe the harvest should improve from last year’s 8,303 to a more typical 9,000 birds.”

DNR Needs Spring Gobbler Survey Cooperators!

Wildlife Resources Section personnel began a statewide survey of spring gobbler hunters in 1983. This survey has hunters record items of interest by day, like the number of gobblers heard, called in, missed and harvested.  DNR also is interested in other animals seen and your most memorable experience. These data are then tabulated and compared against previous years in a report that is mailed back to all cooperators the next year. These data are invaluable to helping biologists manage the wildlife resources in the state. Please contact Tammie Thompson at 304-637-0245 or download a form at www.wvdnr.gov.

Youth Spring Gobbler Season April 20

A special one-day, youth spring gobbler hunt will be held on Saturday, April 20. Youth participating in this hunt must be at least eight years of age and no more than 18 years old on the day of the season.

Youth hunters 15–17 years of age are able to participate in this hunt but must comply with all applicable licensing requirements. Hunters under 15 years of age must be accompanied by a licensed adult at least 21 years of age, who cannot carry a gun or bow and must remain close enough to render advice and assistance. The only legal firearm that can be used by a youth hunter is a shotgun with shot sizes no larger than #4 or smaller than #7 ½.

The bag limit is one bearded turkey that will count toward the hunter’s annual bag limit. For more information please see page 33 of the 2012–2013 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary.

Last year, youth hunters harvested 432 gobblers, which was up 10 percent from 2011, when 392 were taken during this season. The special youth one-day hunt provides an ideal opportunity for seasoned hunters to introduce young people to the joys of spring gobbler hunting.  In addition to having a great day afield, these adult mentors pass along their hunting knowledge, create great memories and keep the fine hunting tradition alive for the next generation of hunters.

Cash Rewards for Poaching Information

Taylor also reminds citizens that the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) will pay $200 cash rewards for information leading to the arrest and conviction of persons who illegally kill or possess a wild turkey. “This cooperative effort between the NWTF and the DNR is designed to curtail illegal activities associated with the state’s wild turkey resource,” said Taylor.

The NWTF also pays a reward of $100 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of persons attempting to kill wild turkeys through the use of bait or who willfully destroy the nest or eggs of wild turkey.

“The public is urged to contact their local natural resources police officer or their local DNR district office if they see someone illegally killing a turkey, know of a person possessing an illegally killed turkey, or know of a person attempting to kill wild turkeys through the use of bait,” Taylor said. “The informant’s identity will remain confidential. By reporting poaching incidents, the public can make a significant contribution to West Virginia’s wild turkey management program.”

Read and join the discussion on West Virginia’s Spring Gobbler Season Opens April 22, 2013 at OutdoorHub.com.

New Jersey Turkey Season Opens April 22, Youth Day is April 20

April 18, 2013

New Jersey Turkey Season Opens April 22, Youth Day is April 20

The NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife reminds hunters that the 2013 Spring Wild Turkey Hunting Season opens Monday, April 22, and runs for five weeks. With turkey populations restored statewide, Garden State hunters can enjoy some of the finest turkey hunting on the East Coast.

Youth hunters will get the first chance to harvest a bird during the Youth Turkey Hunting Day scheduled for Saturday, April 20. Youth hunters with a Youth License who have obtained a turkey permit may begin their spring turkey season on this day prior to the opening of the regular season. Youth hunters are also guaranteed a permit for the area of their choice.

Permits for most areas and periods remain available and can be purchased at license agents and online.

Read and join the discussion on New Jersey Turkey Season Opens April 22, Youth Day is April 20 at OutdoorHub.com.

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