The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management is teaming up with Rhode Island’s chapters of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers and Ducks Unlimited, GottaQ SmokeHouse BBQ, and other partners to announce the eighth annual Youth Waterfowl Training and Mentored Hunt this fall. Youths ages 12 to 15 who have completed a Hunter Education Class are invited to register. Space is limited and applications are due on August 25.
“Providing opportunities for Rhode Islanders to gain the knowledge, skills, and confidence necessary to be legal, ethical hunters is in direct alignment with our DEM’s mission and wildlife conservation,” said DEM Division of Fish and Wildlife Hunter Recruitment, Retention, and Reactivation Specialist Dan Lehman. “Hunting benefits conservation in many ways from providing funding to providing an avenue to eat locally and sustainably, to fostering a sense of respect, responsibility, and stewardship for our wildlife and habitat. Programs like the youth mentored hunt create positive hunting experiences for kids, while teaching individuals and their families the importance of sustainability, firearm safety, conservation, and outdoor ethics.”
This multi-day event includes at training and cookout for youth and their parents and a mentored hunt. The training and cookout, on Sun., October 2, will include a barbeque lunch and will prepare the young hunters by providing an overview of hunting rules and regulations, firearm safety, and waterfowl identification. Participants will also have an opportunity to shoot clay targets during the training. Clay targets, safety gear, and 12- and 20-gauge ammunition will be provided by DEM’s Division of Fish and Wildlife during the training.
During the waterfowl hunt, on Sat. October 29, participants will be paired with experienced mentors and partake in a mentored youth waterfowl hunt on Sat., October 29, followed by breakfast and a demonstration of proper field dressing techniques. A current R.I. hunting license and Harvest Information Program permit are required for participation. Youth waterfowl hunting days are October 29-30 and provide an opportunity for youth hunters ages 12 to 15 to hunt ducks and geese. Youth hunters are required to possess a current Rhode Island hunting license and HIP permit. Parents or guardians assisting youths are prohibited from possessing a firearm and hunting during the youth waterfowl hunting days.
In addition to the application, applicants are required to submit a writing assignment focused on the importance of being a youth leader and role model. Applicants will be notified of their acceptance into the program in September. For further details and to apply, visit www.dem.ri.gov/waterfowl.
Hunters pay more for wildlife conservation than any other user group in the United States. In Rhode Island, hunters and anglers purchase around 70,000 licenses, permits, stamps, and tags each year and contribute more than $235 million to Rhode Island’s economy. A critical source of funding, these monies are leveraged to match federal Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program dollars that support outdoor recreational opportunities for fishing, hunting, and boating in Rhode Island. In addition to funding programs like the Youth Waterfowl Mentored Hunt, these funds allow DEM to acquire and protect many of Rhode Island’s Wildlife Management Areas, study local species, and educate the public on the importance of conservation and stewardship in the state.
Hunter education is offered as part of the DEM’s DFW Hunter Education Program. Safety training is required by law in Rhode Island for beginning hunters. To date, more than 40,000 people have completed a hunter safety course in Rhode Island, helping to reduce related accidents in the state and elsewhere. A complete schedule of hunter educational offerings is available on our website.
More information about Rhode Island’s hunting and fishing licensing system is available at www.dem.ri.gov/huntfish. The site also acts as a portal to help plan adventures that make the most of Rhode Island’s great outdoors. The site links to information on hunting and fishing opportunities, trails, and natural areas through a variety of maps, as well as certification information for hunter safety and boating safety.
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