PROVIDENCE -- The Light Foundation is teaming up with The Department of Environmental Management (DEM) for the Second Annual Mentored Youth Wild Turkey Hunt this spring. The two-day event, set for April 22-23, is free and open to youths 12 to 15, whether they are first-time or proficient hunters.
The event kicks off with a welcome dinner on Friday, April 22, at Addieville East Farm in Mapleville. Youth hunters will meet and spend time with their mentors and participate in an orientation that covers topics like firearm safety and hunting rules and regulations. Participants will practice sighting in their firearms. The next day, youth hunters paired with their experienced mentors will in the hunt, which will be followed by lunch and tutorials on proper field dressing and harvesting techniques.
A current RI hunting license and a turkey tag are required to participate. Space is limited, and those interested in participating must apply to The Light Foundation by March 18. Applicants are required to submit a writing assignment that focuses on a sense of community and the value in creating memories with family and friends. For more information about the event, contact April Brubaker, Program Director at The Light Foundation, at 937-316-6352.
"Teaming up with three-time Super Bowl Champion Matt Light, Susie Light, and The Light Foundation is a big win for DEM and youth hunters in Rhode Island," said DEM Acting Director Terry Gray. "Mentored hunts teach responsibility and respect and can forge lasting friendships. DEM appreciates The Light Foundation's commitment to building opportunities for young people to experience and enjoy the outdoors and inspiring the next generation of the responsible hunters, outdoor enthusiasts, and leaders."
The Light Foundation was founded in 2001 by former NFL New England Patriot player Matt Light and his wife, Susie. It is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping young people develop the skills, values, and mindset they need to create a meaningful and productive future. Matt Light will be on hand for the event and plans to attend the welcome dinner and serve as a mentor on the day of the youth hunt.
Along with DEM, program sponsors include the US Fish & Wildlife Service, Bass Pro Shop & Cabela's Outdoor Fund, Thompson Center, and Rhode Island businesses and organizations such as Addieville East Farm, Big Bear Hunting and Fishing, GottaQ Smokehouse BBQ, the RI Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Foundation, Federated Rhode Island Sportsmen's Clubs Inc., Turkey Chicks, and many more.
Statewide in Rhode Island, youth turkey hunting days are April 18-24 and provide an opportunity for youth hunters ages 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 programs like this and 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, please visit our website. The website 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 more information about DEM divisions and programs, visit www.dem.ri.gov or follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM), or Instagram (@rhodeisland.dem) for timely updates. Follow DEM's Division of Fish & Wildlife on Facebook, Instagram (@ri.fishandwildlife) or subscribe to our monthly newsletter.