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Call of the wild: Turnbull holds waterfowl hunts this fall


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is calling all area youths to the Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge to participate in the 2013 fall waterfowl hunt.

And just how any huntsman would have it, the registration will come in the form of competition.

Due to a limited amount of space on the refuge, youth hunters are urged to apply to be placed into a random drawing for one of the up to eight hunting sites that will be created throughout the wetlands of the Turnbull Refuge for the fourth annual hunt.

The two-day hunt, which will coincide with the state youth waterfowl season usually during the last weekend of September, is not only a chance for area youths to hone their duck hunting skills, but also provides an opportunity for them to step outside and experience the natural world around them.

“One of the main goals is kids are spending less and less time outside so its an opportunity to get them outside in the natural environment,” Turnbull manager Dan Matiatos said. “And then we provide that workshop usually the week before the hunt where we teach a little bit about waterfowl ID, natural history as well as hunting techniques and stuff. So there’s a little bit of an educational component to it as well.”

From Aug. 1-15, the refuge will be accepting applications in the form of standard U.S. Postal Service postcards that will subsequently be entered into a random drawing taking place at the end of August. Each postcard application may include up to two youth’s with their full names, addresses and telephone numbers listed, however only one application may be submitted per youth.

And although the refuge did run into some problems getting enough applicants for last year’s hunt, the event has had a recent history of success that Matiatos is expecting will continue this fall.

“The previous two years (2010-11) we had to turn quite a few kids away,” Matiatos said. “We had to send out those ‘sorry you weren’t selected’ letters which is never an enjoyable thing to do. So overall the hunt itself is pretty successful. It’s nice that time of the year, it’s an isolated area around the refuge, so most of the comments I’ve gotten from people that have participated have been very positive.”

Depending on fall water levels, each wetland-hunting site will host two youths (under 16-years of age) and any non-hunting adults (over the age of 18) who are accompanying the youth hunters. The hunters will be given a free duck call and will also be invited to attend a workshop the weekend prior to the event headed by the refuge and the Spokane Chapter of the Washington Waterfowl Association where hunting sites will be chosen, waterfowl’s ID’d and hunting tips given.

All hunters will be required to possess a valid state hunting license and any of the required stamps and permits while youths must obtain a state hunting license and migratory bird validation.

Postcards should be mailed to Refuge Manager, Turnbull NWR at 26010 S. Smith Road, Cheney, WA, 99004. The results of the drawing will be posted online at and winners will receive a confirmation letter and a youth waterfowl hunt brochure. For more information about the youth waterfowl hunt, call the Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge at 509-235-4723.


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