KINGMAN - The 2016 Pintail Slough youth waterfowl camp was a huge success, according to Officer Justin Winter, who was in charge of organizing the three-day event that started on Jan. 1.
Winter said that there were 17 young hunters who attended the camp, ranging in age from 10 to 17 years old.
This is the fourth year that the department has conducted the camp. The participants stayed at the Topock Elementary School, and the waterfowl hunting was done at the nearby Pintail Slough, which is on the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge.
Winter noted that the success of the event is due to all of the sponsors and volunteers who assisted in the program.
Winter said there were 23 volunteers, including an organization from Phoenix, Arizona Outdoor Sports which provided some key personnel who made the event so successful.
"They (Arizona Outdoor Sports) conducted a safety and clay target shooting course and had a number of certified coaches who assisted every child on the range," Winter said.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department organizes the camp, and they had six officers who assisted during the three-day event. They included officers Tom Bagley, Brit Oleson, Luke Apfel, Nate Ragan, Brian Miller and Winter.
Officer Steve Rice from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conducted a rule and regulation presentation, while USFWS Biologist Zach Basmajian and Tom Bagley conducted a waterfowl identification class for the kids.
The participants were treated to a waterfowl cleaning class by volunteer Jason Knight, while Chad Villimor conducted a duck calling seminar.
Members of the Friends of the Bill Williams and Havasu National Wildlife Refuges, including Jim Rich, donated duck calls, duck blinds, a mojo duck decoy, flashlights and even a shotgun, which was given away.
Stewart Bowman of Desert Archery donated scent bags, a T-shirt and some baseball caps for the kids.
The event participants were allowed to stay inside the Topock Elementary school where all of the instructional classes were held.
Meals were served free of charge to the kids, staff and their mentors.
After the instructional classes, each of the young hunters headed to Pintail Slough on Saturday and Sunday morning with adult mentors to try their hand at waterfowl hunting.
On Saturday the birds were moving and Golden Valley residents Ryan Borden and his sister Laura got into some good shooting. Ryan bagged a Ross's goose and a drake mallard, while Laura got her first snow goose.
On Sunday the Bordens got a drake Gadwall, a teal and Ryan got a beautiful drake pintail, which he is having mounted.
When it was over a total of 43 ducks and three geese had been taken by the young hunters.
Winter noted that without support from the business community the program would not have been as successful.
Anderson Toyota of Lake Havasu, Bass Pro Shops, Sportsman's Warehouse, Freye's Gunshop, and the Arizona Game Ranger Lodge also donated to the camp.
For the youth, there is just one more special weekend for them to hunt.
On Jan. 30-31, kids will be the only ones allowed to hunt on the Pintail Slough.
While this is not part of any organized event, it should nonetheless be a great time for the kids and those who are mentoring them.
As local Hunter Education instructor Johnnie Hoeft says, "It's time to get your quack on!"