Seven youth squirrel hunts have been scheduled around Mississippi on Feb. 11, all geared around introducing new hunters to the thrill of hunting small game with dogs.

The events, sponsored by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks and the Mississippi Wildlife Federation, are limited to kids aged 10 to 15 and are held on public hunting areas. 

Each hunt will start at noon and include seminars on the role that hunting plays in conservation, small game ecology, hunting regulations and safety in the field.  Participants will then practice their shooting skills at the outdoor range under the supervision of qualified instructors. The kids will then be taken to the woods to participate in an actual hunt and have the opportunity to harvest small game. It is a program that has gained in popularity.

“These hunts are a fun and safe way to introduce kids to the sport of hunting,” said Brad Young of the Mississippi Wildlife Federation. “They are designed to show kids that have never been hunting what it is all about.

“Many of the kids that sign up for these hunts tell us that they have always wanted to experience what hunting is like but have never had anyone to take them. These hunts are a great way to introduce kids to the sport of hunting.” 

The hunts are scheduled for:

* Malmaison Wildlife Management Area in Grenada County.

* Pascagoula Wildlife Management Area in Jackson County.

* Canal Section Wildlife Management Area in Itawamba County.

* Copiah County Wildlife Management Area in Copiah County.

* Caney Creek Wildlife Management Area in Scott County.

* Panther Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Yazoo County.

* Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge in Oktibbeha, Noxubee and Winston Counties.

Each hunt is limited to 20 hunters, and the application deadline is Jan. 31. Online applications are available at www.mswildlife.org, and it costs nothing to apply or to hunt if drawn. Selected hunters will be notified by email.