DEM: Youth hunters invited to free wild turkey mentored hunt this spring

The following was written by DEM.

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM), in partnership with The Light Foundation, will offer the first Mentored Youth Wild Turkey Hunt in Rhode Island this spring. The two-day event is open to youths ages 12 to 15. 

The program kicks off on Friday, April 24, at Addieville East Farm in Mapleville with an orientation, briefing on safety in the field, the opportunity to sight in firearms, and a dinner.  Hunters also will meet and spend time with their guides before the hunt. On Saturday, April 25, participants will take part in a mentored wild turkey hunt in northwestern Rhode Island. Each youth hunter will be paired with an experienced volunteer guide to ensure that all participants follow safety guidelines, learn about turkey habitat, and enjoy the thrill of the hunt. A current RI hunting license and a turkey tag are required for participation.

Space is limited, and those interested in participating must apply to The Light Foundation by April 1.  Applicants also must submit a writing assignment that focuses on healthy self-image. To apply, visit https://www.mattlight72.com. For more information about the event contact April Brubaker, program director at The Light Foundation, at (937) 316-6352 or via email at april@mattlight72.com. In addition to DEM and The Light Foundation, other program sponsors include the US Fish & Wildlife Service, National Wild Turkey Foundation, Addieville East Farm, Federated Rhode Island Sportsmen’s Clubs Inc., Ocean State Fantails, and Turkey Chicks.

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Founded by three-time Super Bowl champion and former New England Patriot Matt Light and his wife, Susie, in 2001, The Light Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to giving at-risk kids a better chance at leading healthy lives by using the great outdoors to learn and grow. Matt Light will be on hand for the event and plans to attend the welcome dinner and serve as a guide for the mentored hunt.

Statewide in Rhode Island, youth turkey hunting days are April 25 and 26 and provide an opportunity for youth hunters age 12 to 15 to hunt wild turkey. Youth hunters are required to possess a current Rhode Island hunting license and a turkey tag. Parents or guardians assisting youths are prohibited from possessing a firearm and hunting during the youth wild turkey hunting days. 

Hunter education is offered as part of the DEM Division of Fish & Wildlife’s Hunter Education Program.  Safety training is required by law in Rhode Island for beginning hunters. To date, more than 40,000 people have completed a hunter safety course in Rhode Island, helping to reduce related accidents in the state and elsewhere. A complete schedule of hunter educational offerings is available at www.dem.ri.gov

Hunting has a long tradition in Rhode Island, supporting family customs, connecting people with nature, and attracting tourism to the state. Hunters and anglers purchase around 70,000 licenses, permits, stamps, and tags each year and contribute more than $235 million to Rhode Island’s economy. Revenue generated from license and permit sales support Rhode Island fish and wildlife conservation programs. A critical source of funding, these monies are leveraged to match federal Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program dollars that support outdoor recreational opportunities for fishing, hunting, and boating in Rhode Island.

To purchase a hunting license, or for more information about Rhode Island’s hunting and fishing licensing system, visit www.dem.ri.gov/huntfish. The site also acts as a portal to help plan adventures that make the most of Rhode Island’s great outdoors. It links to information on hunting and fishing opportunities, trails, and natural areas through a variety of maps, as well as certification information for hunter safety and boating safety.

For information on DEM programs and initiatives, visit www.dem.ri.gov. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RhodeIslandDEM or on Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM) for timely updates.