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Hunters 17 years or younger may sign up for Sept. 16-17 event if they have passed hunter education

PHOTO CREDIT: RICK SWART, ODFW - The Sauvie Island Wildlife Area's Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife-sponsored youth pheasant hunts on Sept. 16-17 give kids an early start before the season opens in October.The Sauvie Island Wildlife Area will welcome youth hunters to a jump on pheasant season on September 16-17, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced in a press release on Tuesday.

Interested hunters 17 years of age or younger may register at dfw.state.or.us if they have passed hunter education (available online), and a supervisor 21 years or older must accompany him or her but may not hunt.

"I've been working [the hunt] for 33 years, and I'd be hard-pressed to miss it," Sauvie Island Wildlife Area manager Mark Nebeker said. "I've got kids I checked in [as teenagers] who are checking their kids in now. At our safety briefings we have a sea of orange kids, parents and dog handlers, so we take a picture."

The 11,543-acre wildlife area at 18330 NW Sauvie Island Road in Portland is home to 275 species of birds, 37 mammal species, 12 species of reptiles and amphibians and fish and plant species, according to the ODFW.

Hunters may only sign up for one hunt but may hunt stand by (fill in for a participant who doesn't show up) on the other day.

Participants require a valid hunting license ($10 for 12 years and older and free for ages 11 and under), and youths 12-17 also need an upland game bird validation ($4).

Licenses are not sold at the event but can be found at the ODFW website and at Fred Meyer, Jackpot Market and Bi-Mart in Scappoose, at Scappoose Bay Kayaking Adventures in Warren, Vernonia Hardware & Supply and Vernonia True Value, in St. Helens at Wal-Mart and the marina, at Rainier Chevron Food Mart and Rainier True Value, and at Gun & Boot & Gear in Clatskanie.

"ODFW and its partners stock pheasants at these special hunts that give youth a head start on regular pheasant seasons, which don't begin until October," the release read. "Quail and dove can also be hunted. Volunteers often bring their trained hunting dogs to hunt with participants. Some events also begin with a shotgun skills clinic, so participants can practice clay target shooting before hunting."

Hunters and supervisors must wear an orange hat, eye protection and an orange vest, all provided at ODFW events, and participants must check in and out of the hunt.

"It's one of the highlights of the season," Nebeker said. "The kids come out very tired but very smiley."

ODFW events are open for review at odfwcalendar.com.

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