Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Cibola NWR 1st Annual Junior Waterfowl Workshop a Success
Southwest Region, January 6, 2008
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Cibola National Wildlife Refuge partnered with the Southwest Arizona Habitat Partnership Committee, Arizona Game & Fish Department, and Arizona chapters of Ducks Unlimited to initiate a junior waterfowl hunting workshop at Cibola NWR. The event was held at the refuge on 14th through 16th of December.  32 Junior hunters made reservations to participate in the waterfowl hunt portion of the workshop three months in advance following calendar releases on the AZGFD website and advertisement by Ducks Unlimited.  The public was also welcome to participate in all other events included in the workshop.

Participants were given the opportunity to waterfowl hunt in Cibola NWR Farm Unit II waterfowl management area the 15th and 16th of December. Other activities included 3D archery range, skeet range, BB and pellet gun range, backyard bass, and other outdoor games. The workshop included speakers and instructional seminars which included a campfire presentation about historic cultures in the area regarding hunting, waterfowl calling and decoy selection, nature walk, waterfowl identification, and Dutch oven cooking 101. Junior hunters and their families had the options to participant in all or most of the activities.

The workshops primary focus was to give young hunters an opportunity to experience waterfowl hunting with the guidance of experienced waterfowl hunters through a mentoring program. Junior hunters were matched with a mentor at the beginning of the event. The mentors taught and introduced the junior hunters to hunting ethics, safety, good sportsmanship, decoy placement, calling, and retrieving the harvest.  Junior hunters that successfully harvested waterfowl were given the opportunity to learn how to field dress the animal and biologists from AZGFD introduced the junior hunters to the importance of avian disease testing. Successful junior hunters retrieved specimen samples with the assistance of AZGFD biologists.

The workshop closed on Sunday with a raffle where all junior hunters received prizes collected by numerous donations for the workshop which included 12 gauge Remington 870 express shotgun. The following is a list of sponsors and donors that helped make this event a success:

Yuma Women’s Reel & Rifle Club

Yuma Valley Rod and Gun Club

Continental Divide Knives

Widgeonwhackers Custom Lanyards

Sportsman’s Warehouse

Buck Gardner Calls

Real-Geese Decoys

Second Amendment Sports

AXA Equitable

Arizona Guides Association

Bass Pro Shops

California Waterfowl Association

Delta Waterfowl

Winglock Calls

GK Calls

Avery Outdoors

Duane & Sharon Burmeister

Daniel Jacob

Kevin & Patti O’Connell

Glen & Pam Wood

All junior hunters and mentors were required to fill out an exit form that gave all participants the opportunity to explain what they liked and disliked about the workshop.  This information will be used to help improve on next year’s workshop. The future of hunting and conservation rides on the shoulders of future generations of Americans.  That is why Cibola NWR, AZGFD, and Ducks Unlimited are committed to continuing this program for years to come and already have begun preparations for the 2008 Cibola Junior Waterfowl Workshop. 

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