Hunting Skills University clinic planned for young hunters

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

The Missouri Department of Conservation is offering a hands-on turkey hunting program for youths 11 to 15.

Twenty students will be selected to participate in the Spring Youth Turkey Hunting Clinic on March 24 at the Apple Creek Conservation Area. The program is part of the Hunting Skills University curriculum.

HSU was developed by the Department of Conservation in 2003 to provide exposure to various hunting techniques.

The spring turkey program is open to hunters from 11 to 15 years old who graduated from a hunter education course. A deposit of $25 is required and will be returned at the completion of the course. Applications may be obtained by calling the Missouri Department of Conservation's Southeast Regional office at (573) 290-5730.

The clinic will include listing to live turkeys gobble and taking part in interactive hunting scenarios and setups. Following lunch, students will pattern their shotguns and learn how to call turkeys on calls donated by the Bootheel Boss Goblers, the local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation.

Dee Dee Dockins, outdoors skills specialist for the MDC, said the clinic was "unlike any other course ever taught in this area."

"I feel that is effort is absolutely crucial for conservation," Dockins added. "By the time kids are in middle school, they're already being pulled away by the allure of video games, organized sports or other activities. The Missouri Department of Conservation wants young people to have the choice to participate in hunting because it allows for an appreciation of Missouri's woodlands and wildlife. Hunting teaches responsibility, accountability and respect for life."

The MDC emphasizes safety and requires adults to participate in clinics and hunts with youths.

"Our format includes parents and families and we extend the learning opportunities to all ages," Dockins said.

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