Discover Your Outdoors

An NWTF outdoor coach explains to a youth outdoor explorer participant how to clean a wild turkey. What would you have missed if someone hadn't shown you the outdoors and what it offers? Could you bait a hook, tie a knot, identify a tree, pitch a tent or flush a bird? Today's world is different but kids are the same – they're naturally curious, thirsty for adventure and always ready to explore.

Some of these activities offer instruction, tips and guidance from experienced outdoor coaches. Parents and guardians often find this assistance helpful because it provides knowledge they may not have.

The outdoors is still there. So take advantage of the special seasons, hunts, weekends and fishing activities listed here. They're designed to get you involved and kids interested. But they're meant to let you help a kid discover the joy of being outdoors.


Apprentice Hunter Validation

You think you want to go hunting, but you're not sure. Minnesota residents born after Dec. 31, 1979, who are 12 or older and have not completed firearms safety training, can purchase this validation, which allows them to hunt provided they are accompanied by a licensed adult hunter and hunt within unaided and visual contact of that licensed hunter. The apprentice hunter also must purchase all necessary licenses and permits.

Becoming an Outdoors Family

The Becoming an Outdoors Family Program provides opportunities for families to learn outdoor skills in fishing, hunting and other Minnesota outdoor activities in a safe and supportive environment. Moms, Dads, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and/or scout troops, all types of families are welcomed to attend and spend time in the outdoors and learn outdoors skills together without having to sleep in a tent or cook!

FiN Program

Check out the Fishing in the Neighborhood program on the DNR web site for up to date ongoing information on shore fishing opportunities across the metro area at mndnr.gov/fishing/fin

Firearms Safety Courses

Get prepared early this year. If you are 11 or older and will turn 12 before the season starts, jump online and visit the DNR web site or stop by your local retailer for firearms safety training information nearest you.

Free Fishing in State Parks

Camp yourself on the beaches of a State Park and fish for free. Minnesota residents fish free within the boundaries of the State Park.

I Can Fish!

Yes you can! Visit a number of weekly programs scattered across the state to learn the basics of fishing on the banks of a Minnesota State Parks waterway, but most of all, just go fishing with knowledgably anglers. For details visit: mndnr.gov/discover

Mentored Women's Turkey Hunt

The National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) and DNR are providing a skills and hunting experience for women 18 and older who are first-time turkey hunters. The adventure will take place in mid- May around the Hugo area, which is just northeast of the Twin Cities. Some possible other areas are being developed. There is no cost for the program with the exception of a possible fee to attend a turkey clinic and a valid turkey permit. Application deadline is in mid - February.

Mentored Youth Spring Turkey Hunt

Gobble your way to a great experience with a Minnesota Wild Turkey Federation hunting mentor, parent or guardian and a youth. Applications are accepted until mid February for April hunts across Minnesota's wild turkey range.

Mentored Youth Waterfowl Hunt

Calling all youth between 12 and 15 years old to hunt with a seasoned Ducks Unlimited mentor. The lottery deadline comes around in mid August for the mid September hunt. Set your sites on the DNR web site for additional information.

MinnAqua

Lure in the biggest classroom of them all, the outdoors. This program fosters a better stewardship of Minnesota's natural resources through aquatic educational training of teachers and outdoors organizations. MinnAqua provides an understanding of ecosystems, management and resource issues while helping to acquire skills related to aquatic recreation, careers and teaching. Cast your attention to: mndnr.gov/minnaqua for more information.

Release Your Wild

Nickelodeon's Lia Marie Johnson channels her inner Katniss Everdeen

Nickelodeon's Lia Marie Johnson channels her inner Katniss Everdeen

National Archery in the Schools

Hit the bulls-eye with this program. NASP introduces students to archery by providing schools with grants for the best equipment, training and curriculum available. Shoot over to mndnr.gov/grants/epr/archery.

Reduced-Priced Youth License

Reduced priced individual youth licenses are available for residents and non-residents younger than 18. With the exception of muzzleloaders, the special youth firearms deer license is valid in all firearms seasons and areas.

Scholastic Clay Target Program

Target this program for a young person's shotgun shooting skills. Youths interested in forming a team should contact Kraig.Kiger@state.mn.us.

Take-A-Kid Fishing Weekend

Splash around with these opportunities in June. Minnesota residents fish free with a youngster younger than 16.

Take-A-Kid Hunting Weekend

Bonus day! Take a youth younger than 16 hunting and you can both bypass the license requirement for the weekend. Both youth and adults must comply with regular seasons, limits and other regulations in September.

Take-A-Kid Ice Fishing Weekend

Set the hook with this opportunity in February. Minnesota residents can ice fish free with a child younger than 16. Get tips at mndnr.gov/takeakidicefishing

Youth Big Game Hunting

10- and 11-year old youth under the direct supervision and within immediate reach of a parent or guardian may take deer, bear and elk. Check the hunting regulations for more information.

Youth Deer Hunts

Target this variety of fall deer hunts with a youth at various state parks and Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) throughout Minnesota. Partners include the MDHA, MSAA, BSW, Minnesota State Parks, Friends of Rydell and NWR. August deadline for applications for the lottery hunts in October and November.

Youth Deer Season

"Hunt Up" the Youth Deer Season during the long break from school every October. This hunt requires an adult 18 or older to share your knowledge of deer hunting and outdoor skills with a youth 10 to 15 years of age at the time of the hunt.

Youth Waterfowl Day

Share the sights and sounds of the marsh with a youth 15 or younger (no license required). This special day is for the youth; adults must leave their firearms at home, but can let youth in on all the secrets waterfowl hunting has to offer in mid September.

Youth/Family Upland Bird Hunt

Get the rush of the flush with an experienced Pheasants Forever, Ruffed Grouse Society or Woodcock MN mentor when this lottery event comes around in August. Keep the binoculars focused on the DNR web site for more details for the October hunt.