CPW offers mentored youth turkey hunts

MEEKER I If you are a novice hunter under 18 and want to learn how to hunt wild turkey, Colorado Parks and Wildlife encourages you to apply for a chance at participating in a pair of mentored turkey hunts on private lands this spring.
Prospective hunters must submit their application for either hunt by April 1, 2020.

The first hunt is in Meeker, April 10-12, the second in Craig, May 1-3. All youth are encouraged to apply, however, CPW will give special consideration to those that have never hunted, are not from a hunting family or do not have the opportunity to learn from an experienced mentor.
Both hunts are offered through CPW’s Hunter Outreach Program, dedicated to introducing novice women and youth to the benefits of hunting by providing expert, hands-on guidance.
“Hundreds of kids have participated in these mentored hunts over the years and we couldn’t be prouder of how it’s worked out,” said Assistant Area Wildlife Manager Mike Swaro of Craig. “This is the perfect program for kids that want to hunt and learn specific techniques to be a successful turkey hunter.”
Swaro says turkey hunting provides excellent outdoor recreation but it can be very challenging for the novice to learn on their own.
“It’s nearly impossible to do unless you get instruction, and that’s why we are here,” said District Wildlife Manager Bailey Franklin of Meeker. “I get so much satisfaction knowing these kids have learned a valuable life skill, learned about wildlife management and learned how to handle a firearm responsibly. But the best part is that after a few days with a skilled mentor, these kids can go out and hunt turkey on their own. That’s what it’s all about.”
How To Apply
All applications must include:
• The youth’s name, address and hunter education number
• A parent or guardian’s contact information, including an email address and phone number
• A short narrative, handwritten by the youth and in their own words, explaining specifically why they should be selected over other youth for this special hunting experience
Applications can be hand-delivered to the Meeker CPW office at 73485 Hwy. 64; emailed to the hunt coordinator, bailey.franklin@state.co.us; or mailed to the following address prior to April 1 deadline: DWM Bailey Franklin, PO Box 1181, Meeker, CO 81641.
Applications can be hand-delivered to the Meeker CPW office at 73485 Hwy. 64; emailed to the hunt coordinator, mike.swaro@state.co.us, or mailed to the following address prior to April 1 deadline: Asst. AWM Mike Swaro, 408 Pronghorn Rd., Craig, CO 81625.
“The narrative is the most important part of the application and should explain what is unique and special about the youth that allows them to be a superior candidate for these limited opportunities,” said Swaro. “We’ll look at various factors, primarily the applicant’s lack of hunting experience, unique circumstances or family situation that have kept them from participating in a hunt in the past.”
CPW will select a total of 13 hunters; six for the Meeker hunt and seven for the Craig hunt. Successful applicants will receive notification on or before April 5.
Successful applicants for both hunts are required to attend a pre-hunt orientation accompanied by a parent, guardian, or mentor that must remain with the youth for the entire hunt.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife will provide shotguns, ammunition, blinds and turkey calls. The selected hunters must provide their own camouflage clothing, lodging and food.
“Once again, we thank the very generous landowners that provide their properties for this,” Franklin said. “We are very appreciative of what they do for these kids and for the future of hunting in Colorado.”
For more information or questions, call CPW’s Meeker Office at 970-878-6090 or hunt coordinators Bailey Franklin at 970-942-5111, bailey.franklin@state.co.us, or Mike Swaro at 970-942-8275, mike.swaro@state.co.us.