Clinics offer youth outdoor opportunity that can last a lifetime

Want to sponsor a great outdoor learning experience for youngsters? If your organization is looking for an outdoor learning activity for local youth, contact the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) and ask about a wingshooting clinic.

As part of “ Pass It On,” the agency's hunter recruitment program, KDWP will provide a certified instructor, as well as all the equipment needed to conduct a high-quality, basic wingshooting clinic for young and beginning shooters. All you need is an organizer, some wide-open spaces, and a dozen or more novice shooters. For more information on “Pass It On” or to schedule a wingshooting event, contact Mike Miller at 620-672-5911.

Wingshooting is a valuable outdoor skill because Kansas is one of the top three states for pheasant, quail, and prairie chicken hunting. But as the state’s population has migrated from rural to urban areas, we’ve seen a decline in the percentage of Kansans who hunt. What’s more, fewer youngsters experience hunting each fall.

KDWP wants to reverse this trend and ensure that young people who have an interest get outdoor opportunities. In addition to wingshooting classes, the agency sponsors numerous special hunts and conducts special youth seasons each fall. However, another way to kindle potential hunters’ interest is to expose them to the outdoor skills necessary to enjoy hunting.

Wingshooting is a perfect example. The shotgun shooting clinics offer a controlled, safe experience where all shooters will be successful. Unlike other sports, shooting a shotgun well doesn’t require speed, strength, or size. With a little hand-eye coordination and some good instruction, girls and boys -- big and small -- can break flying targets in no time. Although there are no age restrictions, youngsters should be at least 9 or 10 years old for best success.

Ideally, youngsters who complete the wingshooting course will want to try hunting during one of the special opportunities this fall. But they may also discover that competitive shotgun sports is something they can excel at. Either way, they’ll have discovered rewarding outdoor activities they can enjoy with their families the rest of their lives. For more information, contact Mike Miller at 620-672-5911.