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Early youth seasons quality time for family

Thu., Sept. 17, 2009

Sandpoint father and son, Bruce,left, and Ryan Colin keep an eye out for ducks. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)
Sandpoint father and son, Bruce,left, and Ryan Colin keep an eye out for ducks. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)

The absolute best time of the year to take a kid bird hunting – especially for waterfowl – is coming up before the general hunting seasons open.

“There’s always lots of uneducated local birds of the year around and you can get some great shooting with very little competition,” said Matt Monda, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife manager in Ephrata.

“I think the best part is that the adult can’t shoot. It’s all up to the kids, and I have the most fun of the hunting season helping them out.”

Idaho and Washington have designated youth bird hunting weekends in early fall, when kids under 16 who are accompanied by an adult can hunt most ducks and some birds.

Washington’s youth upland bird and waterfowl hunt is Sept. 26-27.

North Idaho’s youth waterfowl hunt, Sept. 26-27, allows the kids to hunt ducks and geese and other waterfowl, with some restrictions.

The Panhandle’s youth pheasant season is Oct. 3-9.

Both states also have programs to help kids get started, beginning with the prerequisite hunter education courses. Sportsmen’s groups assist the youngsters.

Idaho Panhandle youths have a not-to-be-missed opportunity at three youth waterfowl clinics on Sept. 26.

Mentored hunts, skills clinics for youths and parents and barbecues are provided free for those who preregister for limited slots remaining at the Boundary/Smith Creek Wildlife area, the Clark Fork Delta and Heyburn State Park.

“Our goal is to give kids a positive hunting experience so they want to come out to the marsh again,” said Brian Helmich of Idaho Fish and Game. “We also want mom or dad to learn enough so they can repeat the experience.”

Contact Helmich to reserve remaining spots. His cell phone is (208) 699-8063; office (208) 769-1414.

•The Inland Northwest Wildlife Council has a program to help match youth hunters with mentors in Washington.

Contact: (509) 487-8552.



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