On Sept. 19, Ducks Unlimited, the Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service teamed up to host a youth-mentored waterfowl hunt at Hamden Slough National Wildlife Refuge in Minnesota.
A total of 24 youth hunters from across the state along with their parents were paired up with experience mentors to participate in the youth only and first ever waterfowl hunt at the refuge. An orientation meeting that included waterfowl identification, habitat conservation, gun safety, and retriever demonstrations was held the on-site the night before. In the pre-dawn darkness, anxious hunters and mentors gathered to find their designated hunting location. After several hours of hunting, groups returned to the refuge headquarters and were treated to a hearty pancake breakfast followed by a hands-on learning opportunity about field dressing and legally transporting the harvested birds.
Several other organizations also contributed to the success of the hunt including Federal Premium Ammunition, Friends of the Detroit Lakes Wetland Management District, Minnesota Duck and Goose Callers Association, Cormorant Lakes Sportsman Club, and Northwoods Photography.