Landmark youth hunts approach

Zack Sawchuk, 12, and his brother T.J. Sawchuk, 10 (right) work on their duck calling during an orientation presented by the Washington Waterfowl Association on Saturday.  (Dan Pelle)
Zack Sawchuk, 12, and his brother T.J. Sawchuk, 10 (right) work on their duck calling during an orientation presented by the Washington Waterfowl Association on Saturday. (Dan Pelle)

Idaho waterfowl clinic and first hunt in Turnbull coming up

Potential duck and goose hunters under the age of 16 have the chance of a lifetime in the Idaho Panhandle this month, while a few selected Washington youths will make waterfowling history.

Idaho is signing up hunters under the age of 16 for its popular Youth Waterfowl Clinic and hunting trip set for the Sept. 25-26 youth waterfowl season.

Meanwhile, seven young Washington hunters and their partners on that weekend will become the first waterfowlers to hunt on Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge since the refuge was established in 1937.

Here are the details:

Idaho clinics

Preregistration is under way for 25 to attend clinics at each of three sites: Boundary-Smith Creek Wildlife Area, Clark Fork River Delta and Heyburn State Park.

Idaho Fish and Game Department staffers and hunter volunteers will meet the youths at 5 a.m. and treat them and their parents or guardians with a day of waterfowl hunting meshed with instruction and appreciation for the sport.

“The idea is to give them a love for the sport and the skills to repeat the experience on their own,” said Idaho Fish and Game Department organizer Bryan Helmich.

The kids will be invited to an optional range day for shooting instruction before the event.

Sign up now: Call Helmich (208) 769-1414 days or (208) 699-8063 evenings for Boundary and Heyburn clinics. Call Ray Millard (208) 264-5252) to reserve a spot for the Clark Fork Delta Clinic.

“This is the seventh year for this hunt, and we’ve had 100 percent attendance from the kids who sign up,” Helmich said. It’s become a community event and the kids love it, complete with duck-cleaning demonstrations and a barbecue after the hunting.”

Turnbull hunts

Seven young hunters have been selected for the first waterfowl hunt to be held at Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge since the refuge was created.

The seven were chosen from 15 youths that entered a drawing this summer.

The seven hunters will each be allowed to bring one other hunter and a non-hunting adult into one of the seven designated blinds they will use on the youth waterfowl.

The hunters already have been given an orientation by refuge staff along with a duck call and hunting tips from the Spokane chapter of the Washington Waterfowl Association.

The blinds have been built along the Upper Turnbull Slough area, which includes about 140 acres of fall wetlands in the central portion of the 17,000-acre refuge.

“We hope they’ll become lifetime hunters who will tell their kids they had the privilege of being the first at Turnbull,” said Thor Ostrom, local organizer of WWA.

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Rich Landers

Rich Landers

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