Apply for youth turkey hunts in Northwest Colorado through Colorado Parks and Wildlife | CraigDailyPress.com

Apply for youth turkey hunts in Northwest Colorado through Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Craig Press Staff

Assistant Area Wildlife Manager Mike Swaro describes turkey biology and basic hunting strategies during hunter orientation.

MEEKER — True novice hunter who are younger than 18 and want to learn how to hunt turkey the correct way are encouraged to apply for a chance at participating in a pair of mentored turkey hunts on private lands in Colorado’s Northwest Region this spring, according to a news release from Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

Prospective hunters must submit applications for either hunt by April 1.

The first hunt is set for April 12 through 14 in Meeker, and the second will take place May 3 through 5 in Craig. All youth are encouraged to apply, however CPW will give special consideration to those that have never hunted, who don’t come from a hunting family, or who do not have the opportunity to learn from an experienced mentor.

Both hunts are offered through CPW’s Hunter Outreach Program, dedicated to introducing novice women and youth to the benefits of hunting by providing expert, hands-on guidance.

“We’ve been doing this for several years now, and it’s been enormously successful,” said Assistant Area Wildlife Manager Mike Swaro, of Craig. “So many kids want to hunt, but they don’t have anyone to show them how to do it the right way. Turkey hunting is a lot of fun, but very challenging and nearly impossible to do unless you get instruction, and that is why we are here.”

“I love doing this,” said District Wildlife Manager Bailey Franklin, of Meeker. “I get so much satisfaction knowing these kids have learned a valuable life skill (and) learned about wildlife management and how to handle a firearm responsibly. But the best part is that, after a few days with a skilled mentor, these kids can go out and hunt turkey safely on their own. That’s what it’s all about.”

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All applications must include the following:

• Youth’s name, address, hunter education number and customer identification number, or CID, if applicable

• A parent or guardian’s contact information, including an email address and phone number

• A short narrative, handwritten by the youth and in his 0r her own words, explaining why he or she should be selected over other youth for this special hunting experience

Applications for the Meeker hunt may be hand-delivered to the Meeker CPW office at 73485 Colo. Highway 64; emailed to the hunt coordinator at bailey.franklin@state.co.us, or mailed to the following address before the April 1 deadline: DWM Bailey Franklin, P.O. Box 1181, Meeker, CO 81641

Applications for the Craig hunt may be hand-delivered to the Meeker CPW office, emailed to the hunt coordinator at mike.swaro@state.co.us, or mailed to the following address before the April 1 deadline: Assistant AWM Mike Swaro, P.O. Box 944, Craig, CO 81626

“The narrative is the most important part of the application and should explain what is unique and special about the youth that makes them the best candidate for these limited opportunities,” Swaro said. “We’ll look at various factors, primarily the applicant’s lack of hunting experience, unique circumstances, or family situation that have kept them from participating in a hunt in the past.”

CPW will select a total of 13 hunters; six for the Meeker hunt and seven for the Craig hunt. Successful applicants will receive notification on or before April 5.

Successful applicants for both hunts are required to attend a pre-hunt orientation accompanied by a parent, guardian, or mentor, who must remain with the youth for the entire orientation.

CPW will provide shotguns, ammunition, blinds, and turkey calls. Selected hunters must provide their own camouflage clothing, lodging, and food.

“We could not do this without a great partnership with local landowners that provide their properties for these hunts,” Franklin said. “We are very appreciative of what they do for these kids and for the future of hunting in Colorado.”

For more information, contact CPW’s Meeker office at 970-878-6090; hunt coordinators Bailey Franklin at 970-942-5111 or bailey.franklin@state.co.us, or Mike Swaro at 970-942-8275 or mike.swaro@state.co.us.

For more information about hunting turkey in Colorado, visit cpw.state.co.us.