KDWP's Special Hunts Program takes youth, novices on hunts of a lifetime
PRATT -- Time is short to apply for one of the Kansas Department of Wildlife Parks (KDWP) special hunts for beginning hunters. The Special Hunts Program offers a variety of limited hunts, and many are designed to introduce youth and novices to hunting, usually in an uncrowded place with a good opportunity for success.

Not all special hunts are for youth or novices only. Some are open to all hunters, and each special hunt targets specific game species, including doves, upland game, waterfowl, and deer. Some take place during special the special youth/disabled deer season Sept. 12-20, some during the youth upland game season Nov. 7-8, and others during special youth waterfowl seasons which have yet to be set. Still others occur during regular hunting seasons and are open to everyone. Special hunts will be conducted in all regions of the state on both public and private land.

The program offers "mentor/novice" hunts -- where a youth or mentor is matched with an experienced hunter -- by draw through KDWP’s online Special Hunts application system. Applicants have until Aug. 1 to apply for September and October hunts. A second application period will open about August 15 with an Oct. 1 deadline to apply for hunts in November through February. Each individual can apply once for each draw period.

Mentors and novices can each make individual applications. Many veteran hunters who have experienced great personal hunting success are now finding new satisfaction in serving as mentors, introducing others to this great pastime. Mentors are also allowed to hunt in youth/mentor hunts (but not all special hunts). Mentors are adults 21 or older who hunt with a novice. A novice is a youth 18 or younger or any person who has never previously hunted. Parents or grandparents may take children or grandchildren who have never hunted but are now showing an interest, but mentors and novices do not have to be related.

Hunter Education is not required because youth 15 and younger accompanied by an adult 18 or older do not need hunter education certification. However, persons 16 and older who have not hunted before and do not have hunter education must obtain a one-time apprentice hunting license, which exempts them from the hunter education requirement through the calendar year in which it is purchased.

Special hunts are popular and are open to all with equal opportunity. The only restriction to some of these hunts is that there must be at least one novice for each mentor. They offer the chance to introduce a relative, friend, or neighbor the wonder of the hunt in a wildlife-rich setting.

Apply now by going online to www.kdwp.state.ks.us. Click “Hunting” and then “Special Hunts." If you do not have computer access, apply by telephone at 620-672-5911 and ask for special hunts.

Remember the deadline for the drawings: application must be made by Aug. 1 for September through October hunts and the deadline for November through February hunts is Oct. 1.