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Youth pheasant hunt on tap

The Rogue Valley’s young guns will find themselves with a good chance of bagging a pheasant during the upcoming youth pheasant hunt planned for Sept. 19-20 at the Denman Wildlife Area.

The Oregon Hunters Association, the Rogue Valley Retriever Club and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife this year have teamed up to buy 600 birds for release on this two-day hunt.

This year, sign-ups are being handled online through ODFW’s events calendar, but those who want help can call the agency’s Denman office at 541-826-8774, says Denman Manager Clayton Barber.

As with all activities, COVID-19 safety measures will be in place. Those include social distancing and mask requirements at check-in. As in past years, all hunters will be provided with eye and ear protection as well as hunter-orange clothing.

Youth don’t have to register early to get a space, Barber says. Standby hunters will be granted access as others leave the field, he says.

The youth pheasant hunt is one of the best game-bird opportunities for young hunters, most of whom hunt with the aid of a volunteer bird dog and its handler.

Last year when 667 pheasants were released for the two-day hunt, 133 youth bagged 215 birds. That’s a Denman records of 1.61 birds per hunter, Barber says.

Youth can sign up now, but they must have a valid hunter-education card to hunt. An adult 21 or older must accompany the youth to supervise, but he or she may not hunt.

Both hunter and supervisor must wear a hunter-orange hat, eye protection and a hunter orange vest, and the equipment will be provided by ODFW at the clinics to anyone who doesn’t have it. Hunters also need to check in and out of the hunt.

The hunt comes one week after this Sunday’s two field days for hunter-education students at Denman.

One field day will run from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., while a second will run from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the wildlife area, 1495 E. Gregory Road, Central Point.

Students must complete a online or workbook course to attend the field day, where they will each take a 60-question, multiple-choice exam.

Students must wear a mask during the exam, and they need to bring their own. Social distancing restrictions also will be followed.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or mfreeman@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MTwriterFreeman.

Boston Ehlers participates in the Special Youth Pheasant Hunt at Denman Wildlife Area in White City.