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Matagorda Island Youth Hunt
Southwest Region, January 9, 2005
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Matagorda Island NWR participated in the Texas Youth Hunting Program by hosting its first youth deer hunt January 8-9, 2005 in partnership with the Texas Wildlife Association (TWA) and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). Objectives for the youth hunt program on Matagorda Island include: 1) allow for the harvest of white-tailed deer and feral hogs to help maintain healthy populations and facilitate maintenance of quality habitats for endangered species and native flora and fauna; 2) provide an opportunity for the public youth to engage in hunting while instilling a better understanding of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Refuge System; 3) foster support and knowledge of Refuge goals and objectives by working in close association with the general public and partners; and 4) providing youth hunts that are introductory, safe, educational and instructive.

The hunt was coordinated and conducted by volunteers provided by the Texas Wildlife Association (TWA). TWA was responsible for selecting 10 hunters through a state wide lottery system, providing meals, providing hunt information to the hunters, and providing liability insurance for the program. Youth participating in this hunt were required to be between the ages of 9 and 17, have completed a Texas Hunter Safety Course, and be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Aside from being sponsor for the Texas Youth Hunting Program, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department were also represented by two game wardens and a hunter education specialist who made presentations regarding state regulations, hunter ethics, and wildlife management. In addition to being the host, the refuge provided educational information regarding the refuge and the Fish & Wildlife Service, lodging, hunt blinds, and logistical support for the hunt.

Seven of the ten participants harvested deer during this two day hunt, but each of the ten and the guardians that accompanied them left with a better knowledge of the importance of Matagorda Island, the Aransas NWR Complex, and the Refuge System. The Refuge hopes to continue this program on an annual basis and maintain the partnership that was formed through this event.

Contact Info: Martin Valdez, 505-248-6599, martin_valdez@fws.gov



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