MOORE OUTDOORS: This weekend’s for youth hunting

Published 11:53 pm Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Youth age 16 and younger get a first shot at whitetail deer and turkey statewide and waterfowl in the South Zone this weekend as the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) rolls out another year of highly popular youth-only hunting dates.

Designed to put the focus on getting youth interested in hunting, it has done just that for many and in East Texas at least has an added bonus for aspiring deer hunters.

Rutting activity is typically red hot by this time so young hunters get a first shot at big bucks dropping their guard which annually translates to many big deer taken.

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Youth hunting has become a major focus of TPWD and they have teamed up with the Texas Wildlife Association to create the Texas Youth Hunting Program.

“We sponsor introductory, instructive youth hunts for deer, turkey, hogs, javelina, exotics, dove, small game, waterfowl, varmints and other species. Normally, we provide mentors, lodging and meals,” TPWD reported.

The goals of the program are as follows:

• To preserve the hunting heritage in Texas for present and future generations.

• To promote the highest ethical standards in hunting.

• To give our youths an initial, positive, safe, educational, mentored hunting experience.

• To teach the basic skills, values, techniques and responsibilities of hunting.

• #To instill in youth a basic understanding of practical conservation measures.

• To encourage wildlife habitat access, enhancement and management.

To join the Texas Youth Hunting Program (TYHP), hunters must be 9 to 17 years old and complete an application in addition to the following requirements.

• Complete the Texas Hunter Education course and be able to provide a copy of your certificate or “Temporary Student Card.”. You must have Hunter Education to hunt with TYHP, regardless of age. If you are less than 9 years old, you cannot be certified by the Hunter Education program and must retake the course after your ninth birthday. Call TPWD at 800-792-1112 for more information and a schedule of upcoming Hunter Education courses in your area.

• Have a valid Texas hunting license and appropriate tags or stamps when required.

• Be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

• Complete a TYHP Hunting Application that lists your choice of hunts by priority. TYHP hunting schedules will be sent to you periodically.

• Complete the TYHP release forms sent to you when you are selected for a youth hunt

• Submit a refundable deposit to secure your position when you are selected for a youth hunt to insure all youth hunt opportunities are utilized.

• For more information, call 800-460-5494 or visit

In the next few weeks we will be covering much on waterfowl, its migration and status in Texas as the seasons unfolds. Here’s a little to whet your appetite.

Overall duck numbers in the federal survey area are statistically similar to last year and remain steady according to officials with Ducks Unlimited.

Total populations were estimated at 48.4 million breeding ducks in the traditional survey area, which is 38 percent above the 1955-2015 long-term average. Last year’s estimate was 49.5 million birds. The projected mallard fall flight index is 13.5 million birds, similar to the 2015 estimate of 13.8 million.

“What’s not reflected in the report is that there was fairly significant improvement in habitat conditions after the surveys were completed,” said DU’s Scott Yaich.

“In some key production areas, heavy June and July rains greatly improved wetland conditions. This could benefit brood rearing and the success of late nesting species, as well as give a boost to overall production through re-nesting by early nesting species.”

The difference maker for us will be winter weather in the Great Plains. If it freezes over we will have a good shot at ducks. If not, local hunters will likely struggle.

To contact Chester Moore, email him at You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI or online at