Waterfowl hunters from age 12 to 15 and their adult companions will have the marsh all to themselves Sept. 24 when Utah hosts its annual Youth Hunting Day.
The Youth Hunting Day is a unique chance to introduce young people to waterfowl hunting.
"Holding this day is important to the future of waterfowl hunting and the future of Utah's wetlands," says Tom Aldrich, migratory game bird coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources. "The number of young people participating in all types of hunting has declined in recent years," Aldrich says. "If that trend continues, the funding hunters provide to conserve wetlands will also decline, and that will affect everyone who enjoys visiting these areas.
"Letting young people hunt waterfowl, without all the adult hunters out there and when waterfowl numbers are high, is a great way to get them interested in and excited about waterfowl hunting," he also said. "And, since adults can't hunt that day, it gives them more time to teach young hunters good hunting skills, safety and ethics."
All of the state's waterfowl management areas, and certain areas on the three federal migratory bird refuges in Utah, will be open to youth hunters on Sept. 24. To hunt that day, hunters must be 12 to 15 years old (or turn 12 years old by Dec. 31); be a Hunter Education safety course graduate; possess a small game or combination license; and be accompanied by their parent or an adult who's at least 21 years of age.
The adult may not hunt or possess a firearm and must supervise the young people they take. An adult may take as many young people as they'd like, provided the hunters are the proper age and possess the proper licenses.
Shooting on Sept. 24 begins at 8 a.m. Youth hunters may take ducks, geese, coots and mergansers and must stay within general season limits. The 2005-2006 daily duck bag limit is seven ducks, including not more than two hen mallards, one pintail, one canvasback, two redheads and three scaups.
The daily Canada goose bag limit is three. Snipe and swans may not be taken on Youth Hunting Day.
For more information, contact the southeastern region Division of Wildlife Resources office at (435) 636-0260 or the DWR's Salt Lake City office at (801) 538-4700.