Imagine the sound of 500 youth blowing duck calls and you’ll have a little taste of one of two upcoming events developed to expose Utah youth to the outdoors.
The Utah Waterfowl Association will be holding its ninth annual Waterfowl Youth Fair on Sept. 7. The event is free to the public and will feature activities for those 15-years-old or younger.
The event, sponsored by a number of Utah organizations and companies, is designed to teach youth the basics of duck hunting and to help youth understand the benefits of being outdoors.
“I never would have imagined it would have grown into something like this. When we started we had 75 kids attend and we thought it was a huge success. This year we are expecting almost 600,” said Troy Thompson of the Utah Waterfowl Association. “It’s going to be a hoot tomorrow. There’s nothing better.”
The fair begins at 8 a.m. at the Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area and will include the following activities:
- Free lunch provided by Camp Chef.
- Rides in an airboat and mud-boat.
- Rock climbing.
- Raffle (with prizes for every child).
- Practice casting.
- Free duck calls for the first 300 youth.
- Learning to fish with a bow and arrow.
- Learn how to catch bass, toss duck decoys, and hunt diver ducks.
- State duck calling champion Brett Wonnacott will also be in attendance to teach participants how to call ducks.
The event is seeking volunteers to help manage the more than 600 children that will attend. Volunteers do not need to register and should arrive at 7 a.m. to help.
In addition, the Division of Wildlife Resources and the Utah Waterfowl Association are sponsoring a free waterfowl hunt for hunters ages 12 to 15 on Sept. 21.
The event, in its eighth year is designed to help mentor youth as a hunter recruitment and retention program so kids without a hunting family can get exposure to the hobby.
“This is a great event, especially if they know a little brother, cousin, or a nephew,” Thompson says. “It’s a great event to have them call and sign-up.”
A select number of individuals will be drawn for the hunt which will be held at locations in Davis, Weber and Box Elder counties. Any youth 12 to 15 as of the day of the hunt who is a graduate of Utah’s Hunter Education program is eligible to attend.
Those interested should contact the DWR at 801-698-6467 or 801-786-9999 to have their name included in the drawing.
“The kids who participate will have a lot of fun. And they’ll learn a lot about waterfowl hunting from the experienced guides who’ll accompany them,” said Sergeant Keith Fullenkamp, a DWR offer who will participate in the hunt. “Late September is a great time to hunt ducks or geese. The number of ducks in Utah is usually the highest they’ll be all year.”
Lunch will be provided for free to participants after the hunt. The lunch will be served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Robert N. Hasenyager Great Salt Lake Nature Center at the Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area.