If you're a kid who wants to shoot a deer you'll have plenty of opportunities this fall.
A booming herd and strong commitment to the future of hunting have led the DNR to expand special youth deer hunting opportunities. Seven special youth deer hunts and one special youth deer season are scheduled for October.
Youth ages 12-17 as of Oct. 7 can apply for one of the special youth archery deer hunts. Hunts will take place at Camp Ripley Oct. 9-10 and at the Arden Hills Army training sites on Oct. 21-22 and Oct. 23-24.
Youth ages 12-15 as of Oct. 20 can apply for one of the special youth firearms deer hunts. Hunts will take place at Whitewater Wildlife Management Area Refuge near Winona Oct. 21-24, Lake Bemidji State Park Oct. 21-24, Rydell National Wildlife Refuge near Crookston Oct. 30-31 and St. Croix State Park near Hinckley Oct. 30-31. Blaze orange requirements will be in effect for these areas during the youth hunts. Participants must obtain a valid firearms license prior to the hunt and have their firearms safety training certificates. Youth may hunt with bow and arrow or a shotgun in the Whitewater Wildlife Management Area Refuge hunt.
Participating youth must attend a pre-hunt orientation and safety session and be accompanied by a parent or guardian during the hunt. If the parent or guardian is an inexperienced hunter who would like help, volunteer mentors from sponsoring organizations are available to accompany the hunter/parent teams in the field. Sponsoring organizations include the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association, Minnesota State Archery Association, and the Bluffland Whitetails Association.
A different type of hunting opportunity will occur in northwestern Minnesota Oct. 23-24. A special youth antlerless deer season was established by the Minnesota Legislature for Kittson, Roseau, Lake of the Woods, Marshall and Pennington counties. Any youth ages 12-14 with a Minnesota firearms deer license, valid for any zone or season, are eligible to hunt antlerless deer in these five counties. All participating youth must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult and must get a free Northwest Minnesota Youth Antlerless Deer Season endorsement from an Electronic Licensing System agent prior to the hunt.
There are no limits on the number of youth who may participate. Participants may take only one antlerless deer during the hunt. Party hunting is not allowed.
While the special hunts have been on limited parcels of land that are largely closed to hunting, the northwest Minnesota youth season is open in an area that encompasses more than 4 million acres. Deer hunting organizations in the area, including the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association and Minnesota Quality Deer Management, will seek to pair willing landowners with young hunters.
Later this summer, a Web site will be available that both landowners and potential hunters can access to get together.
More detailed information about the youth deer hunts and seasons are available on the DNR Web site at: www.dnr.state.mn.us. Applications for the three archery hunts and four firearms deer hunts are available on the DNR Electronic Licensing System beginning July 1. Applications for the hunts are due Aug. 20. Lottery drawings will select the participants.
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