En­thused ap­pren­tices

New Man­i­toba pro­gram al­lows youth to hunt game birds at ear­lier age

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - OUTDOORS - PAUL TURENNE

MAN­I­TOBA is open­ing up a new youth hunt­ing op­por­tu­nity be­gin­ning this spring that will al­low some 10and 11-year-olds to hunt game birds for the first time. As part of an on­go­ing drive to en­cour­age youth par­tic­i­pa­tion in hunt­ing, the Man­i­toba govern­ment is in­tro­duc­ing a new regulation that will al­low kids of any age to ac­quire an Ap­pren­tice Hunter Education Cer­tifi­cate upon suc­cess­ful com­ple­tion of the prov­ince’s hunter education course. Man­i­toba res­i­dent youth aged 10 and 11 who do so may hunt wa­ter­fowl, grouse, wild tur­keys and other game birds along with their par­ents or an­other li­censed adult, with any­thing they har­vest al­lo­cated to­ward the li­censed adult’s limit. The min­i­mum hunt­ing age in Man­i­toba up un­til now had been 12 — and it re­mains so for big game and for non-res­i­dents — but pro­vin­cial of­fi­cials are hop­ing this new op­por­tu­nity will pro­vide an in­cen­tive for more kids to pur­sue hunt­ing at a younger age. “We’re look­ing at it as a very pos­i­tive thing for hunter re­cruit­ment,” said Brian Hag­glund, al­lo­ca­tions man­ager with the prov­ince’s wildlife and fish­eries branch. “Lots of par­ents have been say­ing to us that it’s too bad hunt­ing’s not avail­able to younger kids. It’s kind of the for­ma­tive years, and if they can’t be a le­git­i­mate part of the hunt, there are so many other things they could be do­ing, like play­ing hockey or foot­ball.” Hun­ters are re­quired to take ei­ther Man­i­toba’s hunter education course, or the one of­fered in their own home ju­ris­dic­tion, be­fore be­ing al­lowed to pur­chase a hunt­ing li­cence in Man­i­toba. For sev­eral years, kids of any age have been al­lowed to take Man­i­toba’s course, but once they passed, they were re­quired to wait for their 12th birth­day to ac­tu­ally be awarded their hunter education cer­tifi­cate, and there­fore to be al­lowed to hunt. Now all youth of any age who com­plete the pro­gram will be awarded an ap­pren­tice cer­tifi­cate, and if they’re 10 or 11, they’ll be al­lowed to use that cer­tifi­cate to hunt birds with a li­censed adult, al­most like a begin­ner’s driver’s li­cence. “They’ll be go­ing out with some­one who knows what they’re do­ing,” Hag­glund said, not­ing the ap­pren­tice must stay in a po­si­tion “where he or she can be read­ily iden­ti­fied with the per­son they’re hunt­ing with.” The ap­pren­tice hun­ters must also carry their cer­tifi­cate with them, as well as proof of their age such as a birth cer­tifi­cate. The adult’s li­cence must be valid for that cur­rent sea­son, and al­though ap­pren­tices will not be re­quired to pur­chase a pro­vin­cial li­cence, they would still need to pur­chase a fed­eral mi­gra­tory bird stamp to hunt ducks, geese, cranes or wood­cock. Ap­pren­tices may hunt wild tur­keys, grouse, ptarmi­gan and par­tridge with­out the fed­eral stamp.

Hag­glund said all hunter education in­struc­tors in Man­i­toba will soon re­ceive a pack­age from the prov­ince ex­plain­ing the spe­cific re­quire­ments for the new ap­pren­tice des­ig­na­tion. The ini­tia­tive is the lat­est in a string of youthori­ented hunt­ing ini­tia­tives in Man­i­toba, in­clud­ing a youth-rate wild turkey li­cence, a youth com­bi­na­tion deer-game bird li­cence and Wa­ter­fowler Her­itage Days, which al­lows teens to hunt with­out a li­cence un­der the tute­lage of a qual­i­fied men­tor dur­ing the first week of Septem­ber. Man­i­toba is also look­ing to in­tro­duce a youth-rate res­i­dent bear li­cence this spring, sub­ject to ad­min­is­tra­tive ap­proval.

PHO­TOS COUR­TESY OF BIRDTAIL WA­TER­FOWL

Thanks to a new pro­gram re­cently im­ple­mented by the Man­i­toba govern­ment, youth aged 10 and 11 will now be able to hunt wa­ter­fowl, grouse, wild tur­keys and other game birds with a li­censed adult.

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