California Introduces Additional Special Youth Turkey Season

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In 2009, youth hunters in California will have an additional opportunity to harvest a turkey prior to opening weekend.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The California Fish & Game Commission (CFGC) recently approved an additional special youth turkey hunting season for 2009.

The season will allow hunters 16 years of age and younger who hold a junior hunting license to hunt the weekend of March 21 to March 22, prior to the start of the general spring turkey season that runs March 28 to May 3.

“We’re very excited that young people now have even more opportunities to discover the cherished tradition of hunting,” said Bill Gaines, president of the California Outdoor Heritage Alliance, which partnered with the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) to promote the season to the CFGC. “It is important that special youth hunts provide a quality outdoor experience by offering young hunters a reasonable chance of hearing, seeing and successfully harvesting a bird. Allowing youth to hunt the weekend prior to the start of the general turkey season will achieve this goal and help ensure their long-term interest and participation in our hunting tradition.”

The early youth season will not cost young hunters opportunities elsewhere. The CFGC’s other special youth season, which runs for two weeks after the close of the general turkey season, will still be in effect from May 4 to May 17.

Last year’s addition of a special youth turkey season was due in part to the Families Afield program, a partnership between the NWTF, the National Shooting Sports Foundation and the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA) that works to remove youth hunting barriers across the nation.

“Turkey hunting continues to grow in California, and now we have another avenue to introduce youth to a sport they can enjoy for a lifetime,” said Ryan Mathis, NWTF regional biologist for California. “We thank the California Fish & Game Commission and the California Department of Fish & Game for their generous support.”

The Youth Hunting Report, written by Silvertip Productions, USSA and Southwick Associates Inc., shows youth hunters are the safest hunters in the woods when accompanied by an adult. The findings were peer reviewed for statistical validity by the Triad Research Group.

For more information on hunting safety data and the Youth Hunting Report, go to FamiliesAfield.org. Information about California’s hunting seasons and licensing requirements is available at the Department of Fish and Game Web site.

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