Credit: Contributed photo / George Fischer
The best hunter education students from the Cottonwood, Kooskia, Kamiah and Grangeville areas got a day of bird hunting instruction and practice at the Flying B Ranch.
As of Tuesday, April 7, 2015
KAMIAH – Young hunters are the future of conservation and the hunting tradition. By introducing our youth to the joys of hunting at an early age, we can ensure the future of hunting and conservation remains strong.
Some dedicated Idahoans are doing just that.
Thanks to the generous donation from the Flying B Ranch, National Wild Turkey Federation, Grangeville Lions Club, and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, 21 beginning hunters were recently provided a free upland bird hunting clinic at the Flying B Ranch near Kamiah.
Recently selected as top students graduating from hunter education courses taught in Grangeville, Cottonwood, Kamiah and Kooskia, the youth were chosen for their outstanding behavior, class participation and positive attitude.
“This is our tenth annual All Star hunt at the Flying B” IDFG District Conservation Officer George Fischer, event organizer, said. “It’s priceless to see the kids faces light up with their first clay target or feel the excitement when they approach a dog on point.”
The Flying B Ranch, known for some of the best pheasant and chukar hunting in the country, donated their entire facility for the day, including clay targets, game birds, staff, and pointing dogs. Several Fish and Game conservation officers and volunteer hunter education instructors provided supervision, and the National Wild Turkey Federation provided the ammunition.
The eventful day started with a safety presentation and hunting demonstration by ranch personnel, followed by an introduction to the Flying B’s world class pointing dogs. Next, the students received detailed instruction in shotgun shooting and each practiced their shooting skills at the sporting clay range.
Eager to begin what they were promised, the youth were then divided into small groups consisting of four hunters, supervised by a least two adult mentors and a dog handler. Only two youth were allowed to load their gun as their hunting dog pointed a hiding bird. An instructor was with each student as the bird flushed to assure a safe shot. Parents were welcome to follow as the young hunters put their knowledge and newly developed skills to practice pursuing both chukar and pheasant.
The overall goal was to promote a better understanding and interest in hunting and wildlife conservation that will help assure hunting's future. Principles of safe hunting and ethics were also reinforced through the close supervision provided by the adult mentors.
When youngsters are given the opportunity at one-on-one, hands-on hunting experiences and training in the field, all of the aspects of the hunting tradition including ethics, safety, and responsibility are likely to be passed on.
“There’s really no better way to introduce a kid to safe, ethical and responsible aspects of hunting than with the close supervision of an adult mentor,” says Fischer.
Exposing youth to positive hunting experiences at an early age is a critical first step in regaining and ensuring the connection with the outdoors and with carrying on the hunting tradition.
To promote hunting as a safe, enjoyable family-oriented activity, Fish and Game offers reduced price hunting licenses and tags for both resident and nonresident youth, and several youth-only controlled hunts for deer, elk, fall black bear, and pronghorn. Youth-only hunting seasons are also offered for antlerless deer in many areas. In addition, licensed youth 15 and younger who complete a hunter education course and purchase a hunting license and appropriate permits can pursue turkey, waterfowl and pheasant prior to the general season’s opening day. Idaho’s Youth Turkey season runs from April 8 through the 14, 2015.
Idaho’s Hunting Passport also allows any first-time hunter, resident or nonresident, age 8 and older, to try hunting for one year with a licensed adult mentor without first having to complete an Idaho hunter education course. This special authorization allows the beginning hunter to experience hunting before committing to the coursework and effort required to complete hunter education. For more information, visit: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/licenses/?getPage=332.