A small number of new turkey hunting permits on the Air Force Academy property in Colorado Springs are being made available to women and youth first-time hunters. The 10 new tags will be evenly divided between the spring and fall seasons. Interested individuals must have already completed hunter education and must attend a turkey hunting class in Colorado Springs on Saturday, March 24.
"The wild turkey population on the Academy property is doing well enough to support a limited harvest," explained Sabrina Hurwitz, Colorado Parks and Wildlife District Wildlife Manager for the area north of Colorado Springs. "Managing turkeys through this public hunt will help preserve habitat, maintain flock health and minimize conflicts with people on the base."
Women or youth - under age 18 - who haven't previously hunted turkey but who have already completed hunter education courses and want to be considered for the 2012 turkey season on the Academy must attend the "Turkey Hunting 101" course offered at the Colorado Springs Parks and Wildlife office on Saturday, March 24 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The class is limited to the first 50 people who register in advance by calling 719-227-5200 during regular business hours.
Steve Lucero, who coordinates education efforts for Parks and Wildlife in southeastern Colorado, said that offering the tags to first-time youth and women hunters will be a way to provide entry-level opportunity for new hunters.
"Turkey hunting is the fastest growing niche in hunting participation, but it's tough to learn and tough to find a place to get started," Lucero said. "By bringing youth and women into the sport, we can help assure that this great family activity is carried on into the future."
The United States Air Force Academy sits on more than 19,000 acres northwest of the city of Colorado Springs. The Academy campus serves as an Air Force base, military university and flight-training center that prepares future officers for careers in the U.S. Air Force. The Academy is home to more than 5,000 people but also dozens of species of native wildlife including deer, elk, turkey, trout, black bear and mountain lion. In addition to the new turkey hunts, mule deer, white-tailed deer and elk on the property are managed through cooperative military and state hunting programs.
A successful deer hunting program on the Academy began in the 1980s and has significantly reduced wildlife-vehicle collisions on the base, while also improving overall deer herd health.
The Academy is managed as game management unit 512. Hunters can find information about applying for hunts on the Academy, in the Colorado Parks and Wildlife 2012 Big Game Hunting brochure, available where hunting licenses are sold or online at www.bit.ly/COBigGame2012 . Academy hunts have special restrictions and additional fees.