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01
Pa. Clubs To Help With Youth Pheasant Hunts
From the Pennsylvania Game Commission

Young Pennsylvania hunters will have more than 30 different mentored youth pheasant hunts to choose from thanks to the efforts of sportsmen's clubs that stepped forward to sponsor the programs as part of the Pennsylvania Game Commission's third annual youth pheasant season, which will be Oct. 9 and 11. This youth hunting opportunity is open to junior hunters ages 12 to 16 who have successfully completed a Hunter-Trapper Education course. However, there is no requirement that they purchase a junior license.

"The future of hunting is directly related to the continuing participation of young Pennsylvanians in our hunting seasons," said Vern Ross, Game Commission executive director. "While other states are seeing a decline in the number of young hunters, Pennsylvania is fortunate to see its junior license sales increase slightly over the past few years. I believe that increase can be attributed to the abundance of game throughout our Commonwealth, our state's long and proud hunting heritage and the strength of programs to promote youth hunting.

"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 Game Commission's Youth Pheasant Hunt Committee prepared a "Mentored Youth Pheasant Hunt Planning Guide" to enable groups to develop and sponsor a mentored youth pheasant hunt program.

Also, the youth pheasant hunt overlaps with the state's youth squirrel hunt. However, the Game Commission extended the youth squirrel hunt this year to run Oct. 9-15.

"Holding concurrent youth seasons for squirrel and ring-necked pheasants will offer variety to youths who participate in these small game-hunting opportunities," said Lori Richardson, Game Commission Outreach Coordinator and Youth Pheasant Hunt Committee chair. "The state's long-standing daily bag limit of two pheasants will apply to junior hunters participating in this season. Also, hens remain protected in the male-pheasant-only zones, and juniors may only harvest male pheasants in those designated wildlife management units."

The Game Commission will release 18,000 pheasants on land open to public hunting prior to the start of the two-day season, and an additional 2,000 pheasants will be divided and shipped to more than 30 sportsmen's clubs that have signed up to host a mentored youth pheasant hunt. Hunters, however, are not limited to hunting in only those areas where pheasants have been stocked. The pheasant stocking locations and pheasant hunting area maps are outlined on pages 26-29 of the 2004-2005 Pennsylvania Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations, as well as on the agency's website (www.pgc.state.pa.us).

"On behalf of the Game Commission, I would like to extend my sincere thanks and praise to the members of these clubs for sponsoring a mentored youth pheasant hunt, and for all that they do to preserve and pass along our state's rich and proud hunting heritage to a new generation," Ross said. Following is a county listing of the clubs that are hosting mentored youth pheasant hunts:

ADAMS/YORK: The Mechanicsburg Sportsmen's Association.

ALLEGHENY: Bull Creek Rod & Gun Club.

ARMSTONG: The Apollo-Spring Church Sportsman's Club.

ARMSTRONG/INDIANA: The Keystone Sportsmen Club.

BEAVER: Koppel-Big Beaver Sportsman Association and Penn's Woods Pointing Dog Trainers Inc.

BEDFORD/FULTON: The Bedford/Fulton Chapter of Pheasants Forever.

BERKS: The Bally Gun Club.

CENTRE: The Three Point Sportsman Club.

CLARION: The German Shorthaired Pointer Club of Greater Pittsburgh and the Oak Ridge Pointing Dog Club.

CLEARFIELD: Pennsylvania Wildlife Habitat Unlimited.

ELK: North Central Chapter 630 of Pheasants Forever.

FAYETTE: The Fairbank Rod & Gun Club and the Wharton Township Hunting & Fishing Club.

FRANKLIN: Cumberland Valley Pheasants Forever and Mercersburg Sportsmen's Club.

LAWRENCE: The Ellwood/Wampum Rod & Gun.

MIFFLIN: Mifflin County Pheasant Forever.

MONTOUR: Central Susquehanna Pheasants Forever and the North Montour Sportsmens Association.

PERRY: Hyd-A-Del Shooting Preserve.

PIKE: The Promisland Sportsman's Association.

SCHUYLKILL: The Valley View Gun Club and the Friedendsburg Fish & Game Association.

SOMERSET: The Glencoe Sportsmen's Club

WARREN: Kalbfus Rod & Gun Club and the Warren County Pheasants Forever.

WASHINGTON: The Claysville Sportsman Club.

WESTMORELAND: The Deputy Wildlife Conservation Officers of Westmoreland County; the Youngwood Sportsmen; the Little Sewickley Sportsman Association; the Laurel Highland Chapter of Pheasants Forever and the Kingston Veterans & Sportsmen Club; the National Wild Turkey Federation Local #1; the Rostraver Sportsmen & Conservation Association; and the Derry Rod & Gun Club.

Other recent Game Commission initiatives to promote youth hunting opportunities include: a youth spring gobbler season established in 2004; a youth squirrel hunt created in 1996 and expanded in 2004; a waterfowl hunt initiated in 1996; special antlerless deer harvesting opportunities opened in 1998, and expanded in 2000; and youth field days implemented in the early 1990s. Also, as part of the license fee increase approved in 1998, the General Assembly created a junior combination license that packages regular license privileges with archery, flintlock and furtaking opportunities for $9, compared to the regular junior license price of $6.

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