Several parties of youth bird hunters visited Isaac Homestead Wildlife Management Area during the Youth Pheasant and Waterfowl Hunt and enjoyed successful outings.
Prior to the hunt, FWP staff released 300 young pheasants at the WMA that were raised in cooperation with Montana Correctional Enterprises, and most youths hunting that area limited out or bagged as many birds as they wanted.
The youth hunt took place Saturday and Sunday across the state, with pheasants stocked on several WMAs throughout Montana. The purpose of the pheasant release is to give youth hunters an opportunity to experience hunting success, encouraging their future participation. Youths 10 to 15 years of age who are apprentice hunters or Hunter Education graduates may hunt for pheasants, ducks, mergansers, geese and coots.
Over the two days, a total of nine youth bird hunters visited Isaac Homestead WMA, six of them hunting both days. Hunting with dads, friends, siblings and mentors, they managed to harvest 28 roosters. Some participants were first-time bird hunters, and all said they wanted to participate again next year. The event drew hunters ranging from Billings to Broadus.
Youths were allowed to hunt anywhere in the state they had permission, but the WMA near Hysham was the only location in southeast Montana where pheasants were released prior to the hunt.
Experienced hunters were encouraged to mentor young bird hunters. Jeff Faycosh of Miles City was one such mentor, helping 11-year-old Haden Ketchum of Miles City navigate his first pheasant hunt at Isaac Homestead WMA. Working with Faycosh and his dog, Huck, and his father, Ty, Haden managed to land two birds on Saturday and was happy with his efforts.
Faycosh said it was an easy decision for him to mentor someone for the youth hunt.
“I think it is a great program that introduces the kids to hunting,” he said. “The smiles on their faces pretty much says it all.”