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Youth have until Aug. 16 to apply for September waterfowl hunt

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has teamed up with Ducks Unlimited, the national wildlife refuge system, and the Minnesota Horse and Hunt Club to provide youth with hands-on education and outdoors experiences in northwestern and western Minnesota as well as the southern Twin Cities metropolitan area.

The hunt occurs on Youth Waterfowl Day, a specially designated day during which any adult can take any youth 15 and younger waterfowl hunting. Only kids may hunt.

Youth 12-15 who have earned a firearms safety certificate have until Monday, Aug. 16 to apply for the one-day hunt, which requires that a parent or guardian accompany the youth at all times during orientation, education and field sessions. Participants will be selected by lottery.

Paired mentors will do more than take a youth and a guardian into the field for a Saturday morning hunt. They'll take time beforehand to sit down with youth and the guardian to discuss the importance and necessity of habitat as well as explain and demonstrate waterfowl hunting safety, techniques and skills.

Youth and guardians will connect with mentors on Friday to prepare for hunts at Hamden Slough near Detroit Lakes, Morris Wildlife Production Area near Morris, Agassiz/Thief Lake Refuge near Thief River Falls and several locations south of the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

"Youth gain so much from this weekend experience," said Mike Kurre, DNR mentoring program coordinator. "Walking out to the blind early Saturday morning to hunt is the final activity that lets a youth practice all that's been learned along the way."