Outdoors blog

Sign up for Idaho youth waterfowl hunting day

Hannah Strauss was 12-year-old Sandpoint Middle School student when she signed up for the an Idaho Department of Fish and Game youth waterfowl hunt at the Clark Fork Delta.
Hannah Strauss was 12-year-old Sandpoint Middle School student when she signed up for the an Idaho Department of Fish and Game youth waterfowl hunt at the Clark Fork Delta.

HUNTING -- Three mentored waterfowl hunting opportunities for youth aged 10-15 are being organized for Sept. 28, the opening day of Idaho's youth-only waterfowl hunting season. 

The mentored hunting clinics, sponsored by the Idaho Fish and Game Department and sportsmens groups, take advantage of this special season, before the birds become scattered and wary, to teach youngsters basic hunting skills and giving them a shot at their first ducks.

Clinics will be held at the Boundary Creek Wildlife Management Area west of Bonners Ferry, Heyburn State Park west of St. Maries, and the Clark Fork River delta.

Clinics are free, but space is limited and pre-registration is required:

  • For the Boundary Creek and Heyburn hunts, contact Dave Leptich or JJ Teare, (208) 769-1414.
  • For the Clark Fork hunt contact Ray Millard, (208) 264-5252.

Read on for more details:

From Phil Cooper, Idaho Fish and Game's Panhandle Region:

Hunting ducks takes a level of knowledge that can best be obtained through experience.  The idea behind these mentored hunts is to provide the young participants and their parent (or legal guardian) the opportunity to be paired with an experienced waterfowl hunter who can show them how to hunt ducks and geese. This quality hunting experience is intended to provide the youth and their guardian with enough training to repeat the experience on their own.

IDFG has held numerous waterfowl hunting clinics in classroom settings that help new waterfowl hunters learn the ropes. But nothing gets a youngster more hooked on waterfowl hunting than getting into the field near a body of water before daylight to wait for ducks to take flight.

Young hunters will need to be accompanied by a non-hunting adult and bring a shotgun and ammunition.  IDFG has a limited number of shotguns that can be borrowed if needed.  If a participant needs to borrow one, please make that request when registering. 

Young hunters will also need to secure a youth small game license ($7.25) with a migratory bird validation ($1.75) prior to the event and must have the license on them while on the hunt.  Federal duck stamps are not required for hunters until the age of 16.

A couple of years ago as we were heading into the field for the youth hunt, I asked my group of hunters if they had their licenses in their pockets.  All had purchased licenses but one forgot to bring his.  He was not able to participate because he didn’t have his license with him.  That was one disappointed kid.  He got up at 3am to get the Heyburn State Park and had to stay in the car while his friend hunted!

Following a morning hunt, participants in the hunts will be treated to a free barbeque and the opportunity to discuss waterfowl hunting with experienced waterfowlers. 

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is also looking for experienced waterfowl hunters willing to assist with the clinics.  If you want to help pass on the tradition of waterfowl hunting, please call either of the numbers listed above. 

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Rich Landers
Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.

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