ST. GEORGE — If you’re a young person, some special hunting opportunities are waiting for you in Utah this fall.
Sept. 17, 18 and 19 — a week before adult hunters can hunt chukar and gray partridge in the state — those 17 years of age and younger can hunt both species. And those 17 years of age and younger will also have a chance on Sept. 17 to hunt ducks and geese two weeks before the regular waterfowl hunt starts.
If you’d like to participate in the hunts, but you haven’t completed a hunter education course, don’t wait — make sure you complete a course soon.
Joining Utah’s trial hunting program is another way to get involved.
Hunter Education course
The special youth hunts are about six weeks away. Kirk Smith, hunter education coordinator for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, said right now is the perfect time to take the hunter education course. If you wait too long, you might not be able to complete the course before the hunts happen.
“Don’t miss out on the opportunity to have some fun and make some great memories,” Smith said. “Sign up for a Hunter Education course today.”
Smith’s invitation is for adults, too. If you were born after Dec. 31, 1965, you must complete the course, or join the trial hunting program, before you can hunt in Utah.
Hunter education classes are held across the state. You can see a class schedule, and get contact information for class instructors at the Utah hunter education web page.
Smith said there are two ways to take the course: in a classroom, or online. Each has its advantages.
One advantage to the online course is its convenience. “Young people are usually busy with lots of activities in the summer,” Smith said. “Taking the course online allows you to take it at a time that works best for you.”
Taking the course online also allows a young person’s parent to sit by their side to make sure they understand what they’re learning. The young hunter can also learn at his or her speed. And they can review the material as often as they like.
For those who don’t know much about hunting, it might be best to take their child to a class taught in a classroom. Smith encouraged parents to attend the course with their child. “The class is taught by trained instructors,” he said. “The instructor should be able to answer any question your child has.”
Whichever way you choose, a shooting exercise, where the young hunter shows that he or she can handle and shoot a small-caliber rifle safely, is also a required part of the course.
Trial Hunting program
Another option is Utah’s trial hunting program. If you’ve considered getting involved in hunting, or you’re simply curious if the activity is right for you, the program gives you a chance to get into the field with an experienced hunter and find out.
Those who are 12 years of age or older can join the program. To participate, you must complete a brief online orientation course and buy the proper licenses and permits. When you go into the field to hunt, you must be accompanied by a licensed hunter who is 21 years of age or older.
You can participate in the Trial Hunting program for up to three years. If you decide hunting is something you’d like to continue doing, you must complete the Hunter Education course.
You can learn more about the Trial Hunting program, and sign up to participate, at the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources trial hunting program web page.
Those interested may also contact Mark Hadley, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources public relations specialist at 801-538-4737