Youth hunters from across the region were given an opportunity to harvest birds during the 10th annual Big Muddy Duck Hunt in Mound City, Missouri.
The clinic was held during the Missouri youth waterfowl season on Oct. 23 and was open to hunters that were between 11 and 15 years old.
Missouri Department of Conservation agents Cpl. Jade Wright and Cpl. Anthony Maupin along with outdoorsman Bill Hutting started the clinic in Holt County with the goal of introducing the sport of duck hunting to young hunters.
Wright said there were 25 participants that attended the event free of charge. The cost of the event is covered by donations given to the nonprofit organization Big Muddy Association.
As part of the commemorative event, each hunter received use of a TriStar Arms 12-gauge shotgun with a camouflage finish. The guns were presented to the youths’ parents or guardians.
“Our goal from the beginning was to make this a memorable waterfowl hunting clinic and experience,” Wright said. “We want this to be a quality event. These volunteers want to see kids get involved in the outdoors and they are willing to put effort into it.”
He said more than 80 people helped including instructors, volunteer guides, safety coaches and parents.
During the clinic, the youth participants stopped at educational stations that were designed to teach them how to safely and effectively harvest the birds.
The stations included topics such as duck calling techniques, duck identification, waterfowl hunting regulations, how to set up a duck decoy spread and preparing waterfowl as food.
In addition, there were beginning and intermediate shooting skills stations that allow the youth to learn how to safely and confidently use a firearm.
The youth were then able to hunt birds at a private duck club in the county.
Kaylla Quinn Colman, 13, from Leavenworth said her favorite stations were learning about shooting safely in the field.
“I really like archery and hunting with archery too,” Colman said. “I’ve learned today about identifying ducks. I learned a lot about the regulations and that was nice.”
The 25 youth hunters harvested a total of 24 ducks and the first Canada goose harvested during the clinic.
Lunch was provided to attendees and a dinner banquet was held in the evening.
Outdoor organizations and local duck clubs in the county support the clinic by donating funds, providing hunting blinds along with serving as guides and safety coaches.
Organizations that supported the event included the Waterfowlers Hall of Fame in Mound City, the Squaw Creek Chapter of Delta Waterfowl in St. Joseph and TriStar Arms in North Kansas City.
“We have many local donors that support and help this event,” Wright said. “This event could not happen without their help.”
The clinic houses the equipment used in a trailer that can be loaned for other wildlife conservation events in the area.
“Our hope and goal is to have this waterfowl clinic in each waterfowl hunting zone in Missouri,” Wright said. “We also want to acquire a ducks on a stick educational exhibit for duck identification.”
Each youth received a care package of outdoor gear that included a duck call, duck carriers, safety equipment and shirts. They also gave prizes such as duck decoys.