YOUTH Hunting Access Program off to Successful Start

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More than 5,000 stickers were distributed statewide to landowners last year during the inaugural season of the youth hunting access program, according to Jeb Williams, Game and Fish outreach biologist.

"Overall, the program was very well received," Williams said. "We will continue to strongly promote the program again this year and I expect it to grow based on new inquiries and the support we continue to receive from current landowners already participating in the program."

Developed last year by the game and fish department and private landowners, Young Outdoorsmen Understanding The hunting Heritage was designed to allow young hunters land access once permission from the landowner is granted. Landowners who participate in the program place a YOUTH sticker on a "no hunting" sign. The sticker is not a guarantee that a landowner will allow access on a particular day, but they are positive encouragement for young hunters to ask.

"The Department received numerous requests from landowners, sportsmen, sporting good stores and hunter education instructors to either participate in the program or help promote it," Williams said. "In fact, it took off better than we anticipated and had to order additional stickers."

Based on the number of inquiries, Williams believes the program has succeeded, but realizes there is some work that can be done to improve upon it. "Like I have said from day one, this is not a perfect program, or one that will solve all of the complications going on in our outdoor world, but it is a step in the right direction," Williams added. "I am confident this program will assist young hunters and instill in our younger generation proper landowner/sportsmen relations."

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 701-328-6300.