The Next Step for Young Adults Interested in Turkey Hunting
The Massachusetts Youth Turkey Hunting Program is a partnership program between the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife), the Massachusetts State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (MA NWTF) and participating Sportsmen's Clubs. The program is designed to provide young hunters ages 12-17 an opportunity to:
- Learn how to properly handle and shoot a shotgun for turkey hunting;
- Participate in a field workshop that provides specialized training in turkey hunting and safety, and
- Hunt wild turkey under the supervision and guidance of a safe, experienced adult hunter serving as a mentor on a special day set aside just for youth.
All participants must have a valid hunter education certificate prior to enrolling in the Program. Safety is first and foremost to the success of the Program. Hunter education course schedule.
The program is run by participating sportsmen's clubs with guidance and support from the Division and the Massachusetts State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation. Hunter safety is emphasized in all aspects of the program to help build the confidence of young hunters so they may feel comfortable hunting alone or with others in the field. This program is more than just a day in the field hunting turkey; it is a comprehensive recreational program that includes three parts:
Part One - Shooting Instruction and Practice
One of the most important elements for becoming a safe and ethical hunter is practicing and developing shooting skills. In the first part of the program, young hunters will spend time learning how to safely and properly shoot a shotgun for turkey at the target range with experienced shooting instructors. Young hunters will practice the fundamentals of shotgun shooting and firearms safety by receiving hands-on instruction at the target range prior to the hunt. Shooting a shotgun for turkey is similar to shooting a rifle because it involves "aiming" versus "pointing" a shotgun. It is a skill learned and developed through practice at the target range.
Part Two - Pre-hunt Workshop
This part of the program is designed to provide young hunters with specialized training and instruction relative to turkey hunting as well as reinforcing what they learned in the MA Hunter Education Program. The pre-hunt workshop is like a "dress rehearsal" for the actual turkey hunt. Young hunters will have the opportunity to practice all aspects of a safe hunt in the pre-hunt workshop which is held a week or two before the actual turkey hunt.
The workshop consists of field exercises simulating real turkey hunting conditions and scenarios. By getting outdoors and practicing in the field, young hunters will learn where and how to properly set up, how to call birds, determine safe zones of fire, and understand shoot/don't shoot scenarios (properly identifying your target, always being aware of obstacles and sighting past your target). In addition, the appropriate clothing and gear necessary for a safe and productive turkey hunting experience will be discussed and demonstrated during the field exercises. Hunting regulations and ethics must be discussed throughout the various activities of the workshop.
Part Three - A One Day Mentored Youth Turkey Hunt
Only young hunters who successfully complete the first two parts of the program will be eligible to receive a permit to hunt wild turkey under the supervision and guidance of a safe, experienced adult hunter serving as a mentor on a special day set aside just for youth. It is an opportunity to experience the excitement of calling a bird, hearing a bird return the call and the opportunity take a wild turkey. The Special Youth Turkey Hunt Day is the Saturday prior to the last Monday in April.
Who May Sign Up for the Program?
Young women and men ages 12-17 who have successfully completed the Massachusetts Hunter Education Program are eligible to participate in the program.
If hunting with a shotgun, a Firearms Identification Card (FID) and hunting license is required for all young adults between the ages of 15 to 17. An FID is not required of 15-17 year olds who are hunting with archery equipment and most types of blackpowder guns and ammunition. Young adults 12 - 14 years of age do not need a hunting license or FID card.
When Does the Program Take Place?
The shooting instruction and practice as well as the field workshop will take place sometime in March or early April. The actual turkey hunt takes place on the Saturday prior to the last Monday in April.
Are There Fees To Participate In the Program?
No. However, clubs may charge a nominal fee to cover costs for such things as lunch/refreshments, targets, ammunition, etc.
For more information about the program or to find out about participating clubs or organizations in your area contact:
Astrid Huseby; Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife
Telephone: (508) 389-6305
E-mail address: email@example.com
Phil McCarthy: Massachusetts Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation
Telephone: (978) 979-5020
E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
2013 Participating Clubs
Below is a list of clubs and contacts who have committed to conducting a Youth Turkey Hunt. Contact one of these clubs to participate in the Youth Turkey Hunt.
East Mountain Sportsmens Club, Williamstown - Contact: Wayne McLain Ph: 413-458-2660 Email: MAAC@adelphia.net
Lee Sportsmen's Club, Lee - Contact: Matt Ranzoni Ph:413-717-0377
Connecticut Valley District
Chicopee Sportsmen's Club, Chicopee - Contact: Larry Morley Ph: 413-530-0043 Email: email@example.com