OLYMPIA – Special bird-hunting opportunities for youths and seniors are available later this month, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today.
The statewide youth-only season is Sept. 17-18, and is open to hunters under 16 years of age. All participants must be accompanied by an adult, age 18 or older, who is not hunting.
Youth hunters can pursue ducks, coot, Canada geese (except in Goose Management Areas 2A and 2B) and pheasants in both eastern and western Washington, as well as quail, chukar and gray partridge in eastern Washington.
With no sheetwater forming yet on agricultural areas, WDFW waterfowl section manager Don Kraege said early-season hunters will probably have the best luck finding birds near large bodies of water, such as estuaries, lakes and rivers, and in irrigated lands.
“Hunting intertidal areas by boat can be quite productive at this time of year,” Kraege said, adding that WDFW-managed lands provide excellent hunting opportunities and access for hunters throughout the state.
Youth waterfowl hunters are required to have a valid small-game license ($16.43) and a free migratory bird validation. Westside youth pheasant hunters are also required to purchase a pheasant permit for $18.
This year WDFW is partnering with Pheasants Forever, the Washington Waterfowl Association and other hunting organizations to offer youth-mentor hunts for kids who don’t have parents or relatives to accompany them.
“We are very appreciative of the support for these conservation organizations in maintaining our state’s hunting heritage by teaching kids about bird hunting,” said Mick Cope, WDFW upland bird section manager.
Hunters under the age of 16 can be matched with available mentors for the opportunity to hunt during the youth-only season. Interested young hunters or their parents can contact the WDFW Wildlife Program for more information, (360) 902-2515.
Hunters over the age of 65 have their own special pheasant-hunting opportunity in western Washington, Sept. 19-23.
Additional hunting information is available in the 2005-06 Migratory Waterfowl and Upland Game Seasons pamphlet, which can be found at WDFW regional offices, retail outlets and on the WDFW website, at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/waterfowl.