TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) The Idaho Department of Fish and Game - Magic Valley Region hosted a mentored youth pheasant hunt Saturday morning at the Niagara Springs Wildlife Management Area. Saturday marked the opener for the youth pheasant season across Idaho, which runs through Oct. 11.
To help mark the opening of the youth season and promote outdoor activity, Fish and Game along with several other organizations including the High Desert Pointing Dog Club, and the Idaho Mule Deer Foundation, helped put together a clinic that would allow youth hunters to get a full experience of the process that goes into upland bird hunting.
"This is for select kids that took hunter education," Habitat Biologist and Manager of the Niagara Springs Wildlife Management Area, Sean Schroff said. "They can come out and get first hand experience of how pheasant hunting works down here."
The clinic begins with on clay shooting, and volunteers along with Idaho Fish and Game officials assist youth hunters in fine tuning their shooting skills along with exercising proper safety.
"It's the basic safety of shooting," Barry Crose, the Idaho Regional Director for the Mule Deer Association said. "We go with their eye dominance teaching them how to mount the gun teaching them to keep both eyes open when they're shooting."
The next stages of the clinic take participants through the entire process of upland bird hunting.
"They'll go over and shoot some live pheasants out of trap," Crose said.
Volunteers from the High Desert Pointing Dog Club brought their dogs along to give youth hunters a chance to hunt with pointing dogs. After shooting their birds, the youth hunters are assisted and taught how to properly clean their birds.
"They'll come back up to the shop here," Crose said. "They'll clean em and they'll actually cook up some of the pheasants"
Tyler Brownlee, a youth hunter at Niagara Springs on Saturday, said he's learned a lot during his time in hunter education.
"I learned most of my stuff like how to hold my gun how not to hold my gun where to my gun when your shooting," Brownlee said.
The opportunity to pheasant hunt is an educational one for Saturday's youth hunters, but it's also one that isn't as big an option as it was the past. The birds used today at youth hunt were purchased from a grower from Utah.
"The reason why were stocking pheasants now is we just don't have the wild population we use to anymore with pivot farming, it's pretty clean farming,'" Habitat Biologist and Manager of the Niagara Springs Wildlife Management Area, Sean Schroff said. "There's no brushy fence roads, so we really have a lack of habitat for pheasants. One of the reasons why we stock a lot of pheasants on our WMA(Wildlife Management Areas) is that hunting opportunity just isn't here on public and private ground like it use to be."
Schoff said at the Niagara Springs Wildlife Management Area, they're going to release a hundred pheasants, twice per week for the pheasant hunting season through mid December. For 2019 Fish and Game is expected to stock a total of 2,224 pheassants in the Magic Valley Region.
Youth 17 years and younger can participate in pheasant hunt season from Oct. 5-11 as long as they are accompanied in the field by an adult 18 years or older, but cannot accompany more than two youth at a time. For more on how your a youth hunter can participate this season, you can the rules for Upland Game, Furbearer, and Turkey at this link