YOUTH Access Program Formed

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The North Dakota Game and Fish Department and private landowners concerned about youth hunting opportunities have established a young hunter access program called Young Outdoorsmen Understanding The hunting Heritage.

While giving presentations over the past year, Jeb Williams, department outreach biologist, noted that both landowners and hunters were concerned about future hunters being able to enjoy North Dakota's rich hunting heritage. It is no secret that the changes taking place in our outdoor world could affect future hunters," Williams said. "One of the top priorities I took from those meetings was the demand for our department to try to develop a program that would ensure the future of hunting for our young hunters."

A YOUTH sticker placed on a "no hunting" sign sends a message that the landowner is willing to accommodate young hunters who ask for permission. "Numerous no hunting signs have a tendency to intimidate many sportsmen, especially young hunters who do not have years of experience in talking with private landowners," Williams said.

However, the YOUTH sticker doesn't automatically give the young hunter permission to access the landowner's property, Williams mentioned. "This YOUTH sticker simply tells a young hunter the landowner does allow access only after seeking permission."

The goal of this program, according to Williams, is for young hunters to gain confidence in talking with private landowners. "Posted signs don't always mean no hunting, but simply a landowner wanting to know who is on their land," he added. "But approaching a landowner can be an intimidating experience for any hunter, especially a young one."

Private landowners interested in finding out more about the program, or to receive YOUTH stickers, should contact a local Game and Fish office, or the main office in Bismarck at 328-6300.