PRATT — The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) Special Hunts Program offers a variety of limited hunts, many designed to introduce youth and novices to hunting in an uncrowded setting with good opportunity for success. Three types of hunts are offered: youth hunts, mentor hunts, and open hunts.
New this year is that only youth will be able to apply for youth hunts. KDWPT will no longer consider an application from an applicant over the age restriction for a youth hunt. Mentors may apply for youth/mentor hunts. Open hunts are open to anyone, and some non-draw special hunts are also offered.
Also new this year is that applicants for draw hunts are required to choose the dates they want for special hunts. In the past, the choice of “Any” was offered, but this is no longer an option. Hunters must select the hunt dates that are offered.
The first application deadline — for special hunts in September and October — is midnight Aug. 14. A random drawing for these hunts will occur the week of Aug. 15, with email notification to successful applicants. The permit and map will be included with this email notification.
The application period for November, December, and January hunts will begin Sept. 1 and run through midnight Sept. 30, with the draw occurring the week of Oct. 3. Successful applicants for these hunts will also receive email notification with a permit and map.
Each special hunt targets specific game species, including doves, upland game, waterfowl, and deer. Some take place during the special youth/disabled deer season Sept. 10-18, some during the youth upland game season Nov. 5-6, and others during special youth waterfowl seasons, which have yet to be set. Still others occur during regular hunting seasons. Special hunts will be conducted in all regions of the state on both public and private land.
Youth hunts are generally open to hunters 15 or younger who must be accompanied by an adult 18 or older, who may not hunt. Mentor hunts are open to youth 17 or younger or anyone who hasn’t hunted in the last three years, and each must be accompanied by a licensed adult mentor. Mentors may participate in mentor hunts. Requirements for each special hunt are outlined in the hunt narratives on the website.
Many veteran hunters find new satisfaction in serving as mentors, introducing a relative, friend, or neighbor to the wonder of the hunt in a wildlife-rich setting. Parents or grandparents may take children or grandchildren who have never hunted but are now showing an interest, but mentors and novices do not have to be related.
Hunter education is not required for youth 15 and younger accompanied by an adult 18 or older. However, persons 16 and older must have a hunting license and hunter education certification. Those 16 and older who do not have hunter education may still participate by obtaining a one-time apprentice hunting license, which exempts them from the hunter education requirement through the calendar year in which it is purchased.
For more detailed information or to apply, go online to www.kdwpt.state.ks.us and click "Hunting/Special Hunts Information." Those who do not have computer access may apply by telephone at 620-672-0791.