Arrow-right Camera
Sports >  Outdoors

Youth bird hunting seasons, clinics give novices first shot

Hannah Strauss, 12, a student at Sandpoint Middle School, prepares to shoot at ducks coming into her decoys during the youth waterfowl hunt at the Clark Fork Delta on Sept. 25. (Photo by Jeff Strauss)
Hannah Strauss, 12, a student at Sandpoint Middle School, prepares to shoot at ducks coming into her decoys during the youth waterfowl hunt at the Clark Fork Delta on Sept. 25. (Photo by Jeff Strauss)

Getting off on the right foot in the sport of hunting is a little easier for youths and novices who take advantage of events, classes and mentored hunts starting this month in Idaho and Washington.

Special youth-only hunting seasons give licensed hunters under the age of 16 the first shot at the region’s crop of upland birds and waterfowl.

The youth seasons precede the general seasons for adults. This allows adult mentors to leave their shotguns behind and give full attention to assuring the youth hunter has a safe and enjoyable experience.

For waterfowling in particular, the youth hunt is a premier opportunity for hunting before ducks scatter and become wary of decoys as they do in the general hunting season.

Youths can hunt on open public lands or private areas where they have permission to access.

Washington’s traditional early seasons for hunters under 16 has been split between two weekends this year so families don’t have to choose between waterfowl and upland birds.

Youths and non-hunting parents, guardians and mentors who accompany them can pursue waterfowl on Sept. 16-17. The youth hunt for pheasants and other upland game birds is Sept. 23-24.

Idaho’s youth waterfowl season is Sept. 30-Oct.1. The first 30 young hunters ages 10 to 15 to register for a special North Idaho hunting day will get a special deal and a meal.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game once again has scheduled a mentored waterfowl hunt so the youths and their guardians can spend first light hunting with experienced waterfowlers at Pend Oreille Wildlife Management Area east of Sandpoint at the Clark Fork River Delta. The hunting will be followed by a barbecue and discussions about waterfowling.

As a warm-up to the hunting, the Panhandle youths will be invited for supervised clay target shooting at the Farragut Shooting Range.

Register through the Fish and Game office in Coeur d’Alene, (208) 769-1414, or email

Washington is offering youth upland bird hunts with shooting instruction and mentors with trained dogs on Sept. 23, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Gloyd Seeps Road 10 in the Columbia Basin Wildlife Area about 7 miles northeast of Moses Lake.

The Columbia Basin Chapter of Pheasants Forever and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife will guide youths for hunting wild and planted birds in good Grant Count habitat based from the Farm Unit access road just north of Road 10. Lunch will be served.

Info: WDFW Ephrata Regional Office (509) 754-4624, or

The North Central Washington Youth Hunting and Fishing Day on Saturday involves fun and education about hunting, fishing and conservation at North Central Washington Gun Club in Wenatchee.

The event, organized by the Wenatchee Sportsmen’s Association, includes target shooting with rifle, shotgun and archery, with information about hunting, fishing, conservation, wildlife and habitat.

Novice hunters as well as youths can take advantage of several classes and mentored hunting opportunities organized in the Spokane area through the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department.

  • Mentored fall turkey hunting opportunities set for Sept. 23-Oct. 31 had more than 40 openings this week. Info: Aaron Garcia, (509) 654-8727.
  • A deer hunting clinic on Oct. 3 in Spokane had five openings this week.
  • A turkey hunting clinic set for this week in Spokane filled 20 slots quickly when announced last month. More than 480 people are on the waiting list.

Information and registration for these clinics and hunts is online,