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No shortage of pheasants Oct. 7

Young Pennsylvania hunters will have 22 mentored youth pheasant hunts to choose from on Oct. 7 -- the first day of the youth-only pheasant hunting season this year -- through the efforts of sportsmen's clubs that stepped forward to sponsor the programs.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission will provide 1,700 pheasants - an increase from the planned 1,500 birds -- to the 22 sportsmen's clubs that have signed up to host a mentored youth pheasant hunt.

"The future of hunting is directly related to the continuing participation of young Pennsylvanians in our hunting seasons," said Carl G. Roe, commission executive director.

"One of the keys to promoting youth hunting is the tremendous effort of our hunting clubs. These groups are the grassroots organizations that sponsor Youth Field Day events and Hunter-Trapper Education courses throughout the year."

Working with the Pennsylvania State Chapter of Pheasants Forever, the commission's Youth Pheasant Hunt Committee prepared a Mentored Youth Pheasant Hunt Planning Guide to enable groups to develop and sponsor mentored youth pheasant hunt programs.

The youth-only hunting opportunity is open to youth ages 12-16 who have successfully completed a Hunter-Trapper Education course. However, there is no requirement that they purchase a hunting license.

Beyond the mentored hunts, the youth-only seasons for pheasant and squirrel opens statewide that same Saturday to run through Oct. 13.

The commission will release 15,000 pheasants on public hunting land prior to the start of the season.

The pheasant stocking locations are outlined on pages 26-28 of the 2006-07 Pennsylvania Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations, which every hunter receives when he buys his general hunting license. The same information is included on the agency's Web site at www.pgc.state.pa.us.

Hunts in the midstate will include Franklin County, Cumberland Valley Pheasants Forever, at Hijo and Brake Farms near Mercersburg, 25 youth, contact Michael Baehr, 725-3673 or mfbaehr@duke-energy.com, to register; Schuylkill County, Valley View Gun Club, at the club, 50 youth, Kenneth Wetzel, 610-682-3971; Mifflin County, Mifflin County Pheasant Forever, 40 youth, Mike Pruss, 717-242-4157 or mpruss@state.pa.us.

Pheasants are not part of the commission's new Mentored Youth Hunting Program, which permits a properly licensed individual 21 years of age or older to serve as a guide to a hunting youth under the age of 12, but squirrels may be hunted.

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