KDWP offers youth, novice hunts of a lifetime; first application deadline July 31
PRATT — The Kansas Department of Wildlife Parks (KDWP) Special Hunts Program offers a variety of limited hunts, many designed to introduce youth and novices to hunting in an uncrowded setting with good opportunity for success. The first application deadline — for special hunts in September and October — is Aug. 1. A random drawing for these hunts will occur the first week of August. The application period for November, December, and January hunts is Oct. 1, with drawings held the first week in October. Applicants may submit only one application, which allows three selections in each hunt type: upland, dove, waterfowl, and deer.

Not all special hunts are for youth or novices. 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 the special youth/disabled deer season Sept. 11-19, some during the youth upland game season Nov. 6-7, and others during special youth waterfowl seasons which have yet to be set. Still others occur during regular hunting seasons. Special hunts will be conducted in all regions of the state on both public and private land.

Specifically, there are three categories of hunts: open, youth, and mentor. Open hunts are available to all hunters. Youth hunts require parties to contain at least one youth 15 or younger who must be accompanied by an adult 18 or older. Some youth hunts may have more specific age requirements, and adults may not hunt. Mentor hunts are open to both youth and/or inexperienced hunters who are supervised by a licensed adult 18 or older (mentor). A mentor is a licensed hunter 18 years or older who supervises and/or participates in a hunt restricted to youth or novice hunters. Some hunts require the supervising adult to be 21 years or older.

Many veteran hunters find new satisfaction in serving as mentors, introducing a relative, friend, or neighbor to the wonder of the hunt in a wildlife-rich setting. 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 for youth 15 and younger accompanied by an adult 18 or older. 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. All hunters 16 and older need a valid Kansas hunting license.

For more detailed information or to apply, go online to Click "Hunting/Special Hunts." Those who do not have computer access may apply by telephone at 620-672-0791.