Junior waterfowl hunter training program set for Vt. national wildlife refuge

The Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge Junior Waterfowl Hunter Training Program is being offered to young hunters who want to learn more about the sport of waterfowl hunting and experience a high-quality waterfowl hunt. The program is offered to youths 12 to 17 years of age who have an adult waterfowl hunter to serve as a mentor.

The Junior Waterfowl Hunter Training Program is a joint educational effort of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge (Swanton, Vt.), the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, the Vermont Chapter of Ducks Unlimited, the Sportsman’s Club of Franklin County and volunteers to teach young hunters about waterfowl hunting. The program instructs beginning hunters in the knowledge and skills necessary to become responsible, respected individuals who strive to learn all they can about the species being hunted and to become knowledgeable in firearms safety, hunter ethics and wildlife conservation.

Mentors and youths who would like to participate in this year's program must pre-register with the Refuge by Friday, Aug. 17. Participation in the program will be limited to 40 enrollees.

All mentors and young hunters must attend the one-day training session on Saturday, Aug. 18, with instruction beginning at 8 a.m. at the Franklin County Sportsman’s Club on Route 36 (Maquam Shore Road) in St. Albans. The training session will be held rain or shine, so participants should dress appropriately. All youth participants are asked to bring the shotgun they intend to use for hunting to the training for a patterning session.

Junior hunters and their mentors, once they complete the training, are awarded exclusive use of several premier hunting areas at Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge for the first four weekends of the waterfowl hunting season. Juniors are only permitted to shoot for the first two weekends; mentors will be permitted to shoot alongside their juniors the last two weekends of the junior hunt. Blind sites and hunting dates for the junior hunters are determined by a lottery conducted at the annual training session.

To register for this year's program, call refuge headquarters at 802-868-4781 (include mentor’s name and youth's name and age, address and telephone number). For more information, contact Ken Sturm, Refuge Manager, at 802-868-4781.

— U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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