This season, Utah has been split into two duck hunting zones, a Northern Zone and a Southern Zone. A special youth waterfowl hunt will be held in the Northern Zone on Sept. 23. In the Southern Zone, a youth hunt will be held on Sept. 30.
All youth hunters, including those who are 16 and 17 years of age, must be accompanied by someone 21 years of age or older to hunt on the youth days. Normally, those 16 to 17 years of age can hunt in Utah without adult supervision.
Blair Stringham, migratory game bird coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, says one of the goals of the youth hunt is to get young hunters in the marsh with adults who can teach them responsible and ethical hunting.
“To accomplish that goal, we’ve decided, on Sept. 23 and Sept. 30 only, to require 16 and 17 year olds to have an adult with them,” Stringham said.
Trial hunting program
For the fourth year in a row, young people who haven’t completed a hunter education course can still participate in the youth hunt through the state’s trial hunting program. The program allows someone 21 years of age or older to take someone 12 years of age or older hunting, even if the person they’re taking hasn’t completed hunter education.
More information about the trial hunting program is available at www.wildlife.utah.gov/trial.
Take a kid hunting
Stringham said taking young hunters into the marsh on Sept. 23 or Sept. 30 is the perfect way to get them interested in duck and goose hunting. He says the number of ducks in Utah peaks in mid-September.
“It’s the perfect time to be in the marsh,” Stringham said. “The kids you take will see plenty of ducks. And they should get plenty of shots. And the young hunters should also get your undivided attention. Adults can’t hunt during the youth hunt, so the kids you take will get all of your attention.”
Stringham also said a youth day might be the best day you spend in the marsh all season.
“Youth day is the perfect way to pass the tradition of waterfowl hunting on to the next generation,” Stringham said. “The experiences the kids have that day are something they’ll never forget.”
Shooting on Sept. 23 starts at 6:46 a.m. On Sept. 30, shooting starts at 6:53 a.m. To participate in the hunt, if you’ve completed a hunter education course, you must be 17 years of age or younger on July 31, 2017. You must also have a current hunting license and Harvest Information Program (HIP) number, and be accompanied by an adult.
Also, if you’re 16 or 17 years old, you must have a federal duck stamp.
If you haven’t completed a hunter education course, you must be between 12 and 17 years of age on July 31, 2017. You also must have a current hunting license and HIP number, a federal duck stamp (if you’re 16 or 17 years old) and be accompanied by someone 21 years of age or older. In addition, before you hunt, you must complete a brief online trial hunting program orientation course. The orientation course is among the items available at www.wildlife.utah.gov/trial.
To help you find a good spot to hunt, visit www.wildlife.utah.gov/waterfowl-opener-conditions.html. Marsh conditions, at the state’s waterfowl management areas, will be posted there soon.
More information about the Youth Waterfowl Hunt, including the number of ducks and geese kids can take, is available on page 32 of the 2017-2018 Utah Waterfowl Guidebook. The free guidebook is available at www.wildlife.utah.gov/guidebooks.