Wednesday, Nov 30, 2011
Mojave National Preserve held its second annual Youth Quail and Chukar Hunt the weekend of October 29th. Participation for this year’s event more than doubled over last year. The hunt is aimed at connecting youth and their families with public lands, outdoor physical activities, and natural resources in a safe, mentored setting. For several youth participants, this was their first hunting experience on public lands. For many families, it was their first visit to the preserve.
Thirty-seven young people and their families from throughout Southern California camped at Black Canyon Group and Equestrian Campground and participated in an individually guided quail and chukar hunt. Other activities included outdoor cooking and environmental education games. Safari Club International brought out their Mobile Sensory Safari unit, a hands-on mobile classroom for wildlife education.
During the hunt, participating youth were guided by long-time hunters, who volunteered their time to share their experience in backcountry safety, gun safety, knowledge of quail and chukar biology, and outdoor ethics.
In addition to programming provided by rangers, diverse organizations provided education materials, hunt mementoes and food, in addition to recruiting volunteer cooks and guides for the youth hunters. Participating organizations included California Department of Fish and Game, San Bernardino County Fish & Game Commission, California Hunter Education Instructor Association, Safari Club International, Santa Clarita Valley Quail & Upland Wildlife Federation, Quail Unlimited, Quail Forever: The Habitat Organization, and the Society for the Conservation of Bighorn Sheep. Leland Brown from the Institute for Wildlife Studies generously provided his time to educate hunters about non-lead ammunition alternatives.
The Youth Quail and Chukar Hunt supports the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative launched by President Obama on April 16, 2010. This initiative promotes innovative community-level efforts to conserve outdoor spaces and to reconnect Americans to the outdoors.