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Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge Hosts Youth Light Goose Hunt
Southwest Region, December 8, 2008
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Youth Waterfowl Hunter learning to pattern with a shotgun at the Bosque del Apache NWR, prior to the refuge Youth Waterfowl Hunt. Photo: Mara Weisenberger
Youth Waterfowl Hunter learning to pattern with a shotgun at the Bosque del Apache NWR, prior to the refuge Youth Waterfowl Hunt. Photo: Mara Weisenberger - Photo Credit: n/a

 

On Sunday, December 14, 2008, a group of 10 young hunters participated in the second annual Youth Light Goose Hunt at the Bosque del Apache NWR. The hunt was the culmination of weeks of work by two refuge employees, Senior Biologist John Vradenburg and Fire Management Officer Chris Wilcox, both of whom worked with refuge staff, state wildlife officials, refuge volunteers, the Friends of the Bosque and Ducks Unlimited to host the two day event, which is a combination orientation workshop, followed by an actual hunt. The Bosque Youth Light Goose Hunt took place entirely on the refuge, with the kids and their parents spending the night in refuge housing.  The orientation workshop began Saturday, December 13 included a refuge orientation, hunter ethics and safety, followed by an afternoon shotgun patterning session, which included skeet-shooting.  The purpose of this ladder session was to familiarize the young hunters with the effective ranges of their firearms.

The session continued into the evening with the young hunters and their mentors using a computer training program, courtesy of the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, which creates a video simulation of hunting conditions providing the young hunters opportunities for shoot/don’t- shoot scenarios.  By the close of Saturday’s orientation workshop the hunters had a pretty good idea of the capability of their firearms, felt comfortable gauging target ranges, and were thoroughly indoctrinated in target identification and firearms safety.

Sunday morning arrived windy and cold. After a breakfast at 4:15 am, followed by a final safety briefing, the hunters were shuttled to their blinds with their parents and mentors to await the coming of dawn. The combination of frigid temperatures and winds in excess of 25 mph reduced hunting opportunities and only four geese were taken; however, all involved praised the refuge for hosting the event, and despite the low number of geese harvested, said that it was an extremely valuable educational experience.


Contact Info: Shawn Gillette, , shawn_gillette@fws.gov



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