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Youth Hunt Kicks Off Waterfowl Season

Young waterfowlers will have two days of special hunting this year instead of just one. Saturday, September 23 and Sunday, September 24 are set aside as Special Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days this year in Idaho.

Any young hunter, age 12 through 15, can hunt ducks and geese on those two days before the general season opens up and avoid the rush! Hunters must have a valid license with the federal migratory game bird harvest information program validation (Federal HIP). There is no requirement for the federal "duck stamp" and the state waterfowl validation has been rescinded.

At least one adult 18 years or older, who has a valid 2000 hunting license, must accompany each young hunter in the field at all times. Adults are not permitted to hunt during these two days. Bag and possession limits will be the same as those for the regular season. Duck bag limit is 7 of any kind and 14 in possession after the first day of the season. Goose bag and possession limits are 3 and 6, respectively.

The 2000 - 2001 waterfowl proclamations will probably not be available when the youth hunt opens on September 23. Hunters should consult the previous season's regulation brochure for specific restrictions on some species. If you stick with "greenheads" you can't go wrong.

The general duck season will open October 7 and run through the 18; it then closes for two days to accommodate the two-day youth hunt. It reopens on October 21 and runs through January 21, 2001. Goose season runs October 7 through 18, is closed October 19 - 27, then reopens October 28. The last day of goose season is the same as duck, January 21, 2001.

This framework allows the greatest number of weekends for hunting that is possible given the number of days we get, plus earliest starting and latest closing dates under federal guidelines. Waterfowl gunners should also keep in mind that their gun must be physically incapable of holding more than three shells. That is the best argument you can use for buying that new over and under shotgun you've always wanted!

Ducks, geese, and coots may only be taken with non-toxic shot. Shot types approved for waterfowl use include steel, bismuth-tin, tungsten-iron, tungsten-polymer, and tin. It is unlawful to possess lead or other non-approved shot shells while in the field hunting for any waterfowl species.

The waterfowl proclamations will be printed with the official shooting hours for each area of the state. These times do not need to be adjusted. They reflect _ hour before sunrise to exactly sunset for the county you are hunting in.

There are three bird species in Idaho that may be taken at any time of the year and in any number. They are the starling, English sparrow and feral pigeon. All other birds are either classified as a "game bird" with set seasons and limits, or are "protected nongame species" which can never be taken.