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By Mike Porras
Special to The SUN
Colorado Parks and Wildlife is reminding women and youth interested in learning how to hunt big or small game — including deer, elk, pronghorn, upland birds or waterfowl — that the deadline to participate in the agency’s Hunter Outreach Program is Thursday, Aug. 1, before 5 p.m.
Applications for the Women Afield and Youth Hunting hunts can be found at www.bit.ly/womenafieldapp and at www.bit.ly/youthhuntapp.
The Hunter Outreach Program provides guidance and mentorships to novice women and youth hunters through various clinics, workshops, seminars and private-land hunts that instill the knowledge, skills, ethics and traditions of hunting.
“Hunting is a big part of Colorado’s heritage and a very important part of wildlife management,” said Hunter Outreach Coordinator Jim Bulger. “Many women and youth want to participate, but do not have someone to show them how, so that is why these programs are so valuable to the aspiring hunter.”
The Women Afield Program is designed to allow novice hunters and anglers to learn alongside other women in a comfortable environment. The program’s summertime seminars and clinics cover basic shooting, fishing and archery skills in the classroom or range with plenty of “hands-on” experience. Although not required to participate, the clinics and seminars prepare them for the opportunity to apply for mentored big game, pheasant and waterfowl hunts during the fall.
The Youth Hunting Program also provides inexperienced hunters between the ages of 10 and 17 with a variety of clinics and seminars. The mentoring and guidance during the clinics and hunts ensures that they have a positive, outdoor experience that can lead to a lifelong respect and enjoyment of the outdoors.
“Too many of our youth are not participating in healthy outdoor activities, and that is a concern,” said Kathleen Tadvick, hunter outreach coordinator in Grand Junction. “Whether they are successful in the field or not, hunting is a powerful experience that teaches responsibility, ethics, outdoor skills, knowledge of wildlife, firearms skills and physical fitness, among many other positive attributes.”
Youth between the ages of 12 and 17 can participate in mentored big game hunts and youth between 10 and 17 are also eligible for mentored upland game and waterfowl hunts.
Hunt applications submitted to the Hunter Outreach Program are selected by random drawing. Successful applicants are offered a hunt by the outreach coordinator. If the successful applicant accepts the hunt, they are “booked” on that hunt and will be contacted by the Huntmaster in charge. If the hunt is declined, the hunt is offered to another hunter.
For more information about the Youth Hunting Program, visit www.bit.ly/cpwyouthhunting.
For more information about the Women Afield Program, visit www.bit.ly/cpwwomenafield.
For more information about the Hunter Outreach Program, visit www.bit.ly/cpwhunteroutreach.
To purchase a fishing or hunting license online, visit www.bit.ly/cpwonlinelicenses.