2014-02-19 / Columns

Driftwood Outdoors

Youth Turkey Hunts At DNR Properties
by Brandon Butler

My greatest hunting moment came last year when my sevenyear old daughter killed a turkey during youth season. If you have a youth in your life, I encourage you to take them hunting during youth season this year, which takes place April 19 and 20. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is helping make that possible by offering special youth hunts on 21 DNR properties during the special youth wild turkey hunting season.

The reserved hunts are at the following fish & wildlife areas (FWAs): Atterbury, Crosley, Deer Creek, Glendale, Hovey Lake, Jasper-Pulaski, Sugar Ridge, Kankakee, Kingsbury, LaSalle, Pigeon River, Roush, Tri-County, Minnehaha, Fairbanks Landing, Hillenbrand, Chinook, Winamac and Willow Slough, as well as at Salamonie and Mississinewa lakes.

Unfortunately, there may not be room for everyone who wants to hunt, so youth hunters must apply for a reservation and if drawn will be guaranteed a spot. To apply for a reservation, one must register in person or by phone with the property they wish to hunt. Hunters should register between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. local time between March 17-21 or March 24-28. Hunters can register for only one property. Visit the DNR website to find the property phone number.

Any hunters desiring at spot at Fairbanks Landing and Chinook hunts may register at Deer Creek FWA. Those wanting to sign up for Hillenbrand or Minnehaha hunts may register at Goose Pond FWA. If anyone wants to head up north and hunt LaSalle, register at Willow Slough.

If a property has more youth hunters registered than there are spots available, a drawing will be held on March 31st. The drawing may result in a hunting spot for either one or both hunt days, depending on the number of applicants. Results of the drawings will be mailed. Properties will not have a daily “no-show” drawing.

Even if you unfortunately don’t draw for a special youth hunt, there is still plenty of opportunity to hunt public land. Indiana’s vast state forest system and the Hoosier National Forest offer roughly a combined half-a-million acres of turkey rich habitat. These lands are not going to be crowded during youth season. I encourage you to spend a little time getting to know the public property you plan to hunt before showing up to hunt. If you can’t put boots on the ground, use maps and online forums to conduct research.

Applicants must possess a 2014 Youth Consolidated Hunting & Trapping License, a 2014 Non- Resident Youth Spring Turkey License with a game bird habitat stamp privilege, or Lifetime Comprehensive Hunting License. Apprentice hunting licenses of the types named above also may be used.

Youth hunters are defined as those younger than age 18 on the day of the hunt. They must be accompanied by someone 18 or older during the hunt who is not in possession of a firearm or bow. If the adult is going to call they must posses a license. Also, if the youth is hunting on an apprentice license, the adult must have a hunting license. Youth hunters may take a bearded or male wild turkey with any legal shotgun, bow and arrow, or crossbow.

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