Minnesota offers mentors an ideal way to share hunting knowledge and traditions with youth ages 10-17 during its inaugural statewide youth deer season.
The four-day season begins Thursday, Oct. 17, and concludes Sunday, Oct. 20. It coincides with statewide teacher workshops, so many Minnesota students don’t have school during the youth season’s first two days.
"This is a hunting season just for kids," said Barb Keller, big game program leader for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. "It’s a chance for parents, relatives and trusted adults to discover, explore and practice hunting with youth in Minnesota’s fields and forests."
Minnesota’s youth deer season began in 2004 in northwestern Minnesota. Over the years, it expanded to 28 deer permit areas in parts of southeastern and northwestern Minnesota and the Twin Cities metro area where deer were most abundant.
A 2018 statewide survey of hunters showed support for a statewide youth deer season. Deer management interest groups supported the concept, too.
Typically, temperatures in the middle of October are warmer than those during the regular November firearm deer season, snow has yet to set in for winter, and deer are moving more during the daylight hours. Those factors create an ideal opportunity for youth deer hunters.
To participate, youth must be 10-17 years old and have a deer license. An adult parent, guardian, or mentor must accompany youth ages 10-13. All youth hunters and mentors must follow blaze orange/pink clothing requirements. Adults may not hunt, unless they are in an area open during the early antlerless season.
Complete youth season details are available on the DNR website on the youth deer hunting page.
"Hunting is a pathway for understanding nature, supporting sound natural resource management and becoming a conservation advocate," Keller said. "Creating this opportunity is one of the ways the DNR is working to preserve Minnesota’s hunting heritage."