Special waterfowl and turkey hunts for youth

While adult waterfowl hunters will soon find their season at an end, young hunters have a special two-day season set aside just for them. The youth waterfowl hunt, for hunters 15 years old and younger, will be Feb. 2-3 in Lincoln County and Clark County. Youth hunters must be accompanied by an adult who is at least 18 years old, but the adult is not allowed to hunt.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for young hunters to enjoy a day in the field without feeling the pressure that sometimes comes when hunting with more experienced adults. It gives them a chance to focus on the fun associated with being in the outdoors,” said Martin Olson, hunter education coordinator for the Nevada Department of Wildlife.

Youth hunters between the ages of 12 and 15 years of age will need a current hunting license with a Nevada state duck stamp, but will not need a federal Migratory Game Bird Hunting Stamp. That stamp is required for persons ages 16 and older who hunt migratory waterfowl.

Reservations will be needed to hunt on the Overton Wildlife Management Area. A drawing for reservations will be at 8 a.m. Monday at the Nevada Department of Wildlife offices at 4747 Vegas Drive in Las Vegas and 744 S. Racetrack Road in Henderson. The hunter, or their representative, must appear in person to make the reservation.

Hunters who have been waiting for the 2008 Spring Wild Turkey applications will find them at NDOW regional offices, state headquarters and on the Internet at www.ndow.org. New for this year is a junior turkey season for hunters between 12 and 16 years of age. Hunters must have a valid license for March 1, 2007-Feb. 29, 2008 to apply for the spring turkey. Successful tag holders must have a valid March 1, 2008-Feb. 28, 2009 license while hunting.


World Wetlands Day important for Nevada

Feb. 2 is World Wetlands Day, but what does that mean for Nevada, the driest state in the union? It means the wetlands we do have are even more critical for wildlife than those found in states where water is plentiful. Nowhere is the precariousness of America’s wetlands more apparent than here in the Silver State, where only 1.5 percent of the present surface area is vegetated wetlands or open water.

Wetlands are productive and fragile ecosystems. The majority of the sites listed in the 2006 Scorecard of Highest Priority Conservation Sites are wetlands. Glen Clemmer, former director of the Nevada Natural Heritage Program, which put together the report, said a large proportion of the sensitive wildlife species, including fish, amphibians and aquatic invertebrates occur at these wetland sites.

“The main threats,” Clemmer said, “are urbanization, water developments, grazing, invasive species, and changing fire cycles.”

Despite its desert environments, Nevada ranks 11th among all states in total species diversity and third among all states in having the highest percentage of species at risk. According to Jon Sjoberg, Supervising Fisheries Biologist for the Nevada Department of Wildlife, the majority of Nevada’s native fish species are at risk.

Worldwide, the concern is just as emphatic, if not as urgent. The issues that are affecting wetlands include water-related diseases, floods, pollution, drought, water diversion. Recognizing the need to conserve wetlands, The Convention on Wetlands created an intergovernmental treaty to provide a framework for international cooperation in their protection. Signed in 1971, the treaty includes partners such as Ducks Unlimited, The Nature Conservancy, and World Wildlife Fund.

The treaty’s celebration on Feb. 2 is aimed at raising public awareness of wetland values and benefits and will include activities varying from children’s art contests to community clean-up days. Donations from the Danone Group, which owns Evian Water, has made it possible for items such as posters, stickers and videos to be distributed free of charge. The theme of the 2008 Wetlands Day is “Healthy Wetlands, Healthy People,” and it will be focusing on the benefits of wetlands: clean water for drinking, wetland foods, water availability for economic uses, wetland medicines, ecosystem health and the diversity of species.

There are a number of places to enjoy wetlands in Southern Nevada – the Wetlands Park, Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve, Lake Mead, and a little further north – Overton and Key Pittman Wildlife Management Areas. A good place to see the services of a wetland at work is at the “living machine,” which is a wetland filtration system found at the Ethel M Cactus Gardens. To find more information about World Wetlands Day, go to www.ramsar.org/wwd/8/cd/wwd2008.htm. To view the Nevada Scorecard of Conservation Sites, go to heritage.nv.gov/reports/scor2006.pdf.


Nevada hunter education goes online

No getting around it, first time and young hunter wannabes in Nevada have to take a hunter education class before they can buy their license and go hunting. Now with the addition of an Internet based course, new hunters in the Silver State have another option for meeting part of their hunter education requirement and getting into the field.

Nevada law requires anyone born after Jan. 1, 1960, and who hasn’t successfully completed a hunter education course in another state take a class before purchasing a hunting license. Nevada’s course, administered by the Nevada Department of Wildlife has two components: home study, where students complete course materials, followed by an instructor-led course.

Until recently, home study meant picking up a free workbook and student manual at a NDOW office, while allowing adequate time to complete the workbook before the class date arrives.

To get started, students simply go to www.hunter-ed.com and click on the link to the Nevada course. The course is user-friendly and self paced; students can study as much or as little as they want and take as many practice tests as they feel necessary for free. When ready to take the online course completion exam, students pay a $15 fee, pass or fail.

Once they pass the exam, students print out their Online Course Completion Confirmation that serves as proof of completion of their pre-class work and gains them admittance to an NDOW hunter education class. After completing the class students will be issued their official Nevada Hunter Education Certificate and be eligible to purchase a hunting license. The certificate is good for life and is recognized as proof of hunter education throughout North America.

NDOW offers hunter education classes across the state throughout the year.

Taught by volunteer instructors, the class costs $5, payable at the door to the instructor.

Go to NDOW’s Web site at www.ndow.org for more information or to view class schedules.

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