Nearly 5,000 hunters ages 10-15 will take to the fields and forests this weekend during the youth deer season, an annual hunting opportunity that helps develop Minnesota’s next generation of hunters.
“Traditionally most hunters have learned how to hunt from a parent, relative or someone they know well,” said James Burnham, angler and hunter recruitment, retention and reactivation (R3) coordinator with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “Those folks who take time to pass on their hunting knowledge and traditions really deserve a high five because they are carrying on the strong hunting tradition in our state.”
Minnesota’s youth deer season began in 2004 in northwestern Minnesota and since has expanded and encompassed new areas. Currently, the youth season’s 28 permit areas include parts of southeastern and northwestern Minnesota, and the Twin Cities metro permit area 601.
The season is timed during the weekend when many students have school off due to teacher workshops, this year from Thursday, Oct. 18, to Sunday, Oct. 21.
“This weekend may be the first time many youth throw on hunting clothes, learn how to spot a flick of a tail in the woods, or feel what it’s like to take home venison they harvested themselves,” Burnham said.
This weekend’s youth deer season is open to permit areas 101, 105, 111, 114, 201, 203, 208, 209, 256, 257, 260, 263, 264, 267, 268, 338, 339, 341, 342, 343, 344 (including Whitewater State Game Refuge), 345, 346, 347, 348, 349, 601 and 603. Blaze orange or blaze pink requirements apply to all hunters and adult mentors in areas open for the youth firearms deer season. Public land is open, and private land is open if the hunters have landowner permission.
Youth ages 10 through 15 must obtain a firearms deer license. Youth ages 12 to 15 need to have completed firearms safety or, if not, can obtain an apprentice hunter validation.
During the youth season, a parent, guardian or mentor age 18 or older must accompany the youth and only need a license if the youth is taking advantage of the apprentice validation option. Party hunting on a youth license is not allowed – so youth must take and tag their own deer.
Youth hunters in permit area 603 must have their adult deer tested for chronic wasting disease by providing the head of all adult deer in one of five head collection boxes (see page 64 of the 2018 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook for location details).
More information about deer hunting can be found at mndnr.gov/hunting/deer. Information about the youth season can be found on page 35 of the 2018 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook.