Learn to hunt pheasants with Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is inviting recent hunter education graduates who would like advanced instruction on pheasant hunting to sign up for the agency’s Novice Hunter Program being launched this summer.

The Novice Hunter Program is a new effort by Colorado Parks and Wildlife to give novice hunters the skills they need to become successful pheasant hunters. Beginning in late June, Colorado Parks and Wildlife will host a series of one-day programs and follow-up instruction to get novice hunters started on the path to becoming pheasant hunters.

One-day classes are scheduled for the weekends of June 22-23, 29-30, August 17-18 and Sept. 21-22. Anyone who has graduated from a Colorado Parks and Wildlife Hunter Education Course between June 1, 2012 and June 1, 2013 is eligible to register.

“Pheasant hunting is a great way to introduce novices to our hunting traditions,” said Fort Collins Area Wildlife Manager Mark Leslie. “But pheasants can be challenging for even seasoned hunters to harvest. We created the Novice Hunter Program to help beginners get the skills they need to become a successful hunter.”

Pheasant season is one of the high points on Colorado’s sporting calendar. While ring-necked pheasants are not native, they’re wily, tough and well-adapted to eastern Colorado’s wide-open agricultural landscapes. Pheasant hunting has a low cost of entry – a novice hunter needs only a shotgun, a hunting license, some hunter orange and a good pair of boots to take to the field. Colorado leases about 250,000 acres of pheasant habitat for easy hunter access annually.

Novice Hunter classes start at the Wellington Senior Center with presentations on pheasant biology, hunting tactics, hunting opportunities, laws, regulations and hunting ethics. A refresher course in safe firearms handling practices and range safety is also part of the curriculum. In the afternoon, students will travel to the Wellington State Wildlife Area to receive basic wingshooting training under the eye of certified instructors and a range safety officer, in addition to instruction on scouting, hunting tactics and field safety.

Students are encouraged to bring a well-fitting .12 or .20-gauge shotgun, though CPW will provide firearms for those who need a loaner. As a note, instructors will inspect firearms before allowing them on the range. Please do not bring ammunition; it will be provided.

This summer, wingshooting clinics will be offered to help polish shooting skills. In the fall, a limited number of mentored dove and pheasant hunts will also be offered.

The course is free. However, students and mentors will need to have a valid 2013-14 small game hunting license to participate in fall hunting opportunities.

Classes are limited to 30 students each on a first-come, first-served basis. The final class on Sept. 22 is for students 18 and older only. Please go to http://register-ed.com/programs/colorado/118-colorado-outreach and select a class take.

For more information, contact wildlife.nhp@state.co.us.

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