‘Learn to Hunt’ Workshops and Hunts Offered at Buckhorn State Park and Sandhill Wildlife Area

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MADISON – Young people interested in learning to safely hunt deer can register for either of two “learn to hunt deer” workshops and associated youth deer hunts that will be held this fall at Buckhorn State Park and at the Sandhill Wildlife Area and Outdoor Skills Center.

Buckhorn youth learn to hunt workshop and youth hunt

Buckhorn State Park will offer a two-day hunt Nov. 8-9 for youths who are at least age 12 but not older than 17 as of Nov. 8. The chaperoned hunt is preceded by a one-day learn-to-hunt workshop on either Sept. 6 or 7 at the LaValle Sportsman’s Club.

“We’re trying to give youngsters a quality experience where they can have a good chance at harvesting an animal and can learn to do it safely,” said Joe Stecker-Kochanski, park superintendent.

A hunting license is not required. Youngsters who have not harvested a deer with a firearm at the time of application will receive preference. The annual event is limited to 56 youngsters this year. Applicants for the event must apply by July 15. A drawing will be held on July 16, and all successful applicants will be notified by July 24.

The hunt, limited to shotguns, takes place on 2,000 acres of Buckhorn State Park and the Buckhorn Wildlife Area, south of Necedah in Juneau County. Youth can take either an antlered or antlerless deer.

Each youth must be accompanied by a qualified chaperone. Applicants can select a family member or friend as the chaperone or authorize the park to assign a chaperone. The chaperone – who is not allowed to hunt or to carry a firearm – must be at least 21 years old and have at least 5 years hunting experience.

Information and applications are available on the Buckhorn State Park page of the DNR Web site or by writing Youth Deer Hunt, Buckhorn State Park, W8450 Buckhorn Park Ave., Necedah, WI, 54646-7338.

Each youngster selected must have completed a certified hunter education program. Both the hunter and chaperone must attend a Learn to Hunt Deer workshop Sept. 6 or 7 at the LaValle Sportsman’s Club. A $20 fee for the workshop and hunt will be collected by Friends of Buckhorn State Park.

Sandhill Outdoor Skills Center

The special Sandhill Wildlife Area deer hunt will be held Nov. 1-2 and is open to youths 12 to 15 years old as well as people 16 or older who have never hunted deer with a gun before. Youths and adults must first complete a one-day workshop at the Sandhill Outdoor Skills Center that includes information on deer biology and management, instruction on compasses, scouting for sign, firearm safety, hunt rules and regulations, and hunter ethics.

Youth workshops will be held: Saturday, Aug. 2; Monday, Aug. 4; Wednesday, Aug. 6; Thursday, Aug. 7; and Saturday, Aug. 9. Each youth hunter must be accompanied by an adult, 21 years or older, who acts as chaperone and teacher.

The workshop for people 16 or older who have never hunted deer with a gun before will be held on Saturday, Sept. 27. Beginner adults must also be accompanied by an adult chaperone.

To qualify for the program, all participants must either be enrolled in a Hunter Safety course or must possess a valid Hunter Safety Certificate. Students will be required to have a license by the time of the hunt. Previous participants are ineligible.

Chaperones should have some deer hunting experience and are expected to attend the workshop as well as the hunt with the student. Their primary role is to assist the beginner in developing the skills necessary to become a responsible hunter and outdoors person. The chaperone will not be allowed to carry a firearm during the hunt. The Skills Center can provide a chaperone volunteer if an applicant cannot find a person with deer hunting experience.

Applications for the Learn to Deer Hunt Workshops will be available on the Sandhill Wildlife Area page of the DNR Web site and DNR Service Centers. Applications must be postmarked on or before May 31, 2008. Enrollment is limited to 168 students. Applicants will be randomly selected and successful applicants will be notified by June 20. A fee of $35 will be charged to enter program. Fee waivers are available for those unable to afford the fee.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: on Buckhorn contact Joe Stecker-Kochanski at 608-565-2789 or on Sandhill contact Dick Thiel at 715-884-6333