Local middle and high school students had the opportunity to learn how to handle a rifle under the supervision of Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials.
Some call it a right of passage that can benefit the community and allow youngsters to help put food on the table this winter.
"We need you to get hunter safety so you can hunt some elk, so in the winter we can just have meat and stuff," said Mount Garfield student Isaac Maestas.
Mesa County Democrats have sponsored the program for the past three years.
"Our belief is that we should give kids the opportunity to participate in something as important as hunting... which I've done my whole life and the important thing is safety," said Mesa County Democrat Dan Robinson.
The 35 young teens were given the standardized hunting written test and those that passed had to demonstrate proper handling before finally shooting.
"I was nervous the whole time, I didn't know if I was going to pass and I didn't know how my step dad and my mom would feel," said Maestas.
Retired teachers and the Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials volunteered time to assist in and administer the written and practical test.
"We try to engage the government agencies in it with us as well.. because its in their best interest as well, because they are all about promoting safe and responsible hunting in our community," said Robinson.
Officials say the hunting licenses can vary greatly depending on game size and quantity, but youth licenses are reduced and can range between $10 and $20.
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