Legislation in Virginia Benefits Youth

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Thanks to groundbreaking legislation, Virginia youth who attend events educating them about Virginia's fish and wildlife resources will now have an easier time participating in hunting and fishing during the events. Hosting nonprofit organizations will now be able to purchase temporary permits to cover all youth involved.

Coordinators of outdoor education events can now apply for permits with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries that will make hunting and fishing during the events legal for all youth participants for 48 hours. The permit would be in lieu of the young hunters and anglers having to purchase basic hunting and fishing licenses and big game, archery and muzzleloader licenses.

Longtime outdoorsman, Delegate Ben Cline, sponsored House Bill 2636, which gives nonprofit groups including the National Wild Turkey Federation the ability to purchase the $25 permit to cover all youth hunting and fishing participants at JAKES (Juniors Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics and Sportsmanship) and Xtreme JAKES events.

"I was immediately thrilled at the potential outdoor opportunities HB 2636 would create for our JAKES members" said NWTF Virginia's State Chapter President Robin Clark. "I was also proud that our Rockbridge Area Chapter recognized a need and pursued it through their local legislative representatives. We are grateful to Delegate Cline for his dedication in moving this bill forward."

"We are proud to have award-winning JAKES and Xtreme JAKES programs here in Virginia," Clark added. "Our chapters recognize the importance of involving our youth in the outdoors and teaching them about conservation through fun and exciting events."

The NWTF developed the JAKES program to give youth 12 years old and younger the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors through hands-on learning at events nationwide. JAKES members also receive a subscription toJAKES Magazine.

Xtreme JAKES provides opportunities and challenges designed for the abilities and experiences of youth ages 13 to 17. During events hosted nationwide Xtreme JAKES members get to try activities such as clay target shooting and learn advanced hunting techniques, plant and animal identification and wise stewardship of natural resources. They also receive a subscription to Xtreme JAKES eMagazine and one issue of Turkey Country magazine.

Founded in 1973, the NWTF is a national nonprofit conservation organization that has worked with wildlife agencies to restore wild turkey populations from 1.3 million wild turkeys in 1973 to nearly seven million today. Now, volunteers raise funds and work daily to improve critical wildlife habitat, increase access to public hunting land and introduce new people to the outdoors and hunting.

For more information about the NWTF and and/or the JAKES and Xtreme JAKES outreach programs visit www.nwtf.org or call (800) THE-NWTF.

About the NWTF: The National Wild Turkey Federation is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit conservation and education organization with a mission dedicated to conserving wild turkeys and preserving hunting traditions.

When the NWTF was founded in 1973, there were only 1.3 million wild turkeys. Today that number stands at more than seven million birds throughout North America, thanks to the efforts of state, federal and provincial wildlife agencies, the NWTF and its members and partners.

Growth and progress define the NWTF as it has expanded from 1,300 members in 1973 to more than 400,000 today. With that growth has come impressive strides in wildlife management as the NWTF has forged dynamic partnerships across the country to further its conservation mission. Together, the NWTF's partners, sponsors and grassroots members have raised and spent more than $286 million upholding hunting traditions and conserving nearly 14 million acres of wildlife habitat.

While wild turkey restoration is nearing completion, the NWTF still has much work to do. Across North America, supporters are working to enhance habitat for wild turkeys and other wildlife while providing hunters with more opportunities and access to public and private land. In addition, NWTF volunteers and partners are introducing youth, women and people with disabilities to the outdoors through special educational events.

The NWTF's national headquarters, located in Edgefield, S.C., features the Wild Turkey Center and Winchester Museum and 100-acre Outdoor Education Center.

If you would like to become a member of Team NWTF, join a committee or start a chapter, please visit our Web site at www.nwtf.org or call us at 800-THE-NWTF.