The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is co-sponsoring several events specifically for young hunters and their families this spring.
The first is the inaugural Youth Hunting Celebration on Saturday, April 20, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Kehoe Conservation Camp and Education Center in Castleton, Vt. The daylong celebration will be filled with fun and informative demonstrations and skill challenges for young hunters and their families. All experience levels, from seasoned hunters to those new to the sport, are encouraged to attend.
The Youth Hunting Celebration will include a turkey calling seminar and contest, 4H shooting sports target practice, wildlife identification, and a demonstration from Game Warden Rob Sterling and his canine assistant Rufus. Admission to the event is free and a calendar of the day can be found on the Fish & Wildlife website (www.vtfishandwildlife.com).
The next event is the Governorís Youth Turkey Hunt luncheon on Sunday, April 21, at the Waterbury Fish & Game Club, registration begins at 8:30 a.m. Governor Peter Shumlin is scheduled to lead a discussion on the importance of the hunting tradition in Vermont before having lunch with the young hunters and their families. Co-sponsored by Vermont Fish & Wildlife and the Vermont chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), the event is open to any licensed hunter under the age of 16. Previous hunting experience is not required to participate. To sign up, please contact Don Isabelle with the NWTF at (802)-483-2017 on or before April 13.
The Governorís Youth Turkey Hunt event will continue the following weekend on April 27-28, when NWTF sends participants and their guides into the woods to hunt for turkeys. Vermontís youth turkey hunting weekend, April 27 and 28, is open to any licensed turkey hunter 15 years or younger who has successfully completed a hunter education course and who is accompanied by an unarmed, licensed adult.
Finally, the NRA Youth Hunter Education Challenge will be held from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 18, at the Caledonia Forest & Stream Club in St. Johnsbury, VT. This free event offers young hunters the chance to practice their skills in firearms, wildlife identification and land navigation. Participants will compete in two age divisions, with winners eligible for entry in the International Youth Hunter Education Challenge being held in Raton, New Mexico, in July 2013.
The Youth Hunter Education Challenge is open to all youth under 19 years of age who have completed hunter education. Mentors, parents and guardians are encouraged to attend. Pre-registration is required by May 1, 2013. To register, email Ann Shangraw at firstname.lastname@example.org. This event is co-sponsored by the Friends of the National Rifle Association and the Vermont Bearhound Association.
ďThese events underscore the importance of youth hunters to the future of hunting in Vermont," said Christopher Saunders, Vermont Fish & Wildlife hunter education coordinator. "But more importantly, they offer plenty of learning and fun for young hunters and their families."