A youngster's first hunt can be the beginning of a lifelong pastime, opening a door to a new and exciting world, presenting opportunities to learn about and experience the out-of-doors. Following a few, basic guidelines will help to ensure the best possible time in the field for the novice hunter.
- Think safety first! (Hunting is one of the safest outdoor activities.)
- Have fun! 'Fun' isn't necessarily about harvesting an animal. Learning about wildlife and their habitats, looking for tracks, being with family and friends, and getting close to nature are all ways to measure success—and fun!
- Emphasize ethics and set the example. Teaching hunter responsibility and ethics will ensure future hunting opportunities.
- Teach conservation. Today’s hunters must lead conservation efforts for tomorrow’s wildlife and hunters.
- Prepare and train for the outdoors. Hunting is a powerful experience because of the knowledge and skills hunters acquire beforehand and while participating. Physical fitness, outdoor skills, knowledge of wildlife, wild places, ethics and firearms skills are all necessary to becoming an accomplished hunter.
These principals are adhered to, strictly, by the Huntmasters and volunteers of the Hunter Outreach Program. The Hunter Outreach program arranges and coordinates educational opportunities for youth to ensure their first steps in the field are great ones. The program provides trained and experienced Huntmasters and volunteers that will lead youth through clinics, seminars, and actual hunts in the field. Our primary focus is not about the harvest but to provide a safe, fun, and educational experience in the field!
- Applicants must be a Colorado Resident
- All youth must meet Colorado hunter education requirements prior to submitting an application.
- All youth must be 17 and under to apply. You must be a minimum of 12 years old to apply for big game.
- Parents or legal guardians must accompany youth hunters during the entire period of the hunt. Parents and guardians are not allowed to hunt but must participate in all parts of the event with the youth.
The Hunter Outreach program offers the following types of hunts
Big Game, Ages 12 -17: Youth hunters who are selected through an application process (detailed below) are exposed to an “Outdoor Classroom” that includes firearm safety training, field safety, hunting skills and techniques, hunter ethics and responsibility, and camp chores! Big game hunts typically run three days. Participants are expected to remain at the hunt site for the full duration of the event. Lodging (heated canvas wall tents) and meals are included in these hunts as a part of the overall educational experience. Hunters must be proficient with their firearms prior to attending a hunt. All hunters will show proficiency skills at a range as a part of the planned hunt curriculum.
Upland Game, Ages 10 -17: The Hunter Outreach Program, in partnership with other organizations, offers several youth pheasant hunts during the fall season. These hunts offer firearm safety and skills, Field skills, and habitat and biology of upland game. These hunts are day trips that start early! Youth will be expected to use 20 or 12 gauge shotguns. Shotguns can be provided to those who cannot obtain a youth size firearm.
Waterfowl, Ages 10 -17: In partnership with private landowners, clubs and organizations, the Hunter Outreach Program offers educational waterfowl hunts to youth hunters. Safety, calling, and tactics are taught in the field by experienced Huntmasters. These hunts are typically single day hunts that can run from before sunrise till after sunset. Youth on waterfowl hunts must have prior shotgun experience, and be able to safely handle a minimum of a 20 gauge shotgun. Goose hunts have a minimum height restriction on 50 inches in height. There are no height restrictions on duck hunts.
The Hunter Outreach program does not focus on the harvest, but upon the education of the novice hunter in the field
Applying for a Hunt—Read Carefully
Important! Applications submitted to the Hunter Outreach for hunts are selected by random drawing.
Successful applicants are offered a hunt by the outreach coordinator; they are not allowed to select the dates of the hunt nor the location. If the successful applicant accepts the offered hunt, they are “booked” on that hunt and will be contacted by the Huntmaster in charge. If the hunt is declined, the hunt is offered to another hunter.
*All hunters are strongly encouraged to apply for big game licenses using the limited licenses application process. This affords the young hunter with the maximum opportunities to draw a big game license for the season.
Applicants who have successfully drawn a limited big game license may still apply for a hunt. If youth hunters have drawn a license through the Statewide Limited License Process and have been selected for a Hunter Outreach hunt as well, the Hunter Outreach office will contact the hunter and provide him or her with the options available for using the program hunt or the limited license they have drawn.
If you applied last year for a Hunter Outreach youth hunt, but were not chosen, you can re-apply this year as long as you continue to meet the eligibility requirements.
Youth who have previously been selected for and participated in a Hunter Outreach Program big game hunt are not eligible to apply again.
The focus of this program is to provide new/novice Colorado hunters with a safe, positive, and educational hunting experience to assist them in learning the skills of hunting, but we do not restrict Colorado youth hunters who have had multiple previous hunting experiences from applying for the program.