PRATT — The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s (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. The first application period — for special hunts in September and October — is July 16 through Aug. 13, and drawing results will be emailed within a week. A second application period — for November, December, and January hunts — begins July 16 and runs through Oct. 1., with drawing results emailed during the following week. New this year, applicants may apply for both hunt periods beginning July 16, and they will have three choices for each species per draw period.
Most special hunts occur during regular hunting seasons and will be conducted in all regions of the state on both public and private land. Not all special hunts are for youth or older beginning hunters (novices). Some are open to all hunters, and each special hunt targets specific game species, including doves, upland game (pheasant and quail), waterfowl, and deer. Some take place during the special youth/disabled deer season Sept. 8-16, some during the youth pheasant and quail season Nov. 3-4, and others during special youth waterfowl seasons yet to be set.
Specifically, there are three categories of hunts: open, youth, and mentor. Open hunts are available to all hunters, with no age or experience restrictions. Youth hunts may require at least one youth 15 or younger who must be accompanied by an adult 18 or older who may hunt. Some youth hunts may have more specific age requirements, and accompanying adults are not allowed to hunt. Mentor hunts are open to both youth and/or inexperienced hunters who are supervised by a licensed adult 18 or older (mentor) who may hunt. Some hunts require the supervising adult to be 21 years or older.
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 who have not hunted before and do not have hunter education must obtain a one-time apprentice hunting license, which exempts them from the hunter education requirement through the calendar year in which it is purchased. All hunters 16 and older need a valid Kansas hunting license.
For more detailed information or to apply, go online to ksoutdoors.com. Click "Hunting/Special Hunts" on or after July 16. Those who do not have computer access may apply by telephone at 620-672-0791.