Oct. 4, 2012

Special youth seasons offer great opportunities and lifetime memories

PRATT--Three young hunters all took their first limits of ducks on Saturday, Sept. 29, and they saw hundreds of ducks. The hunting was great, and they nearly had the pool they were hunting at Jamestown Wildlife Area to themselves. After the evening hunt, they roasted hot dogs on an open fire then crawled into sleeping bags to dream of the morning hunt on Sunday. The three enthusiastic hunters were lucky enough to have an adult mentor take them hunting during the youth waterfowl season in the Low Plains Early Duck Zone.

The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Pass It On program offers a variety of special youth hunting seasons designed to encourage adult mentors to take kids hunting. The first youth season of the fall was the youth deer season, which was Sept. 8-16. Many young deer hunters also had great success. At the Anthony Youth Deer Hunt, sponsored by the community of Anthony, Harper County landowners and KDWPT, 11 of the 12 youngsters took at least one deer, hunting just an evening and a morning.

All special youth seasons are scheduled before the regular season to give youngsters first chance. Hunting pressure during the special seasons is light, and public lands provide outstanding opportunities for the youth season as mentors and youth often have areas to themselves. The early-fall seasons are usually marked with mild weather and allow adult hunters a chance to mentor youth without giving up their own hunting time.

The youth season for the Low Plains Late Duck Zone is Oct. 20-21, and the youth-only season for the Southeast Duck Zone is Nov. 3-4. During youth waterfowl seasons, youth 15 and younger may hunt with a supervising adult 18 or older. The adult may not hunt. Resident youth do not need licenses or stamps. Ducks and geese may be hunted, and daily bag limits are the same as during the regular duck and goose seasons.

The last youth season of the fall is the youth pheasant and quail season, Nov. 3-4. Youth 16 and younger may hunt with an adult 18 or older. The adult may not hunt. Young hunters are allowed daily bag limits half of that allowed during the regular season, 2 rooster pheasants and 4 quail.

All persons born on or after July 1, 1957 must complete an approved hunter education course before hunting in Kansas, except that youth 15 and younger may hunt without hunter education while under direct adult supervision.

Take advantage of these great opportunities to pass on our hunting heritage. You’ll likely give a young hunter experiences he or she will never forget, and you may spark a flame in them that will burn the rest of their lives. Those three young duck hunters mentioned earlier are still talking nonstop about their hunting experience. Never underestimate the power of passing it on.