Taking advantage of better weather and no school days, Minnesota offered the state’s first youth-only deer season statewide for four days, ending on Oct. 20.
The October climate is “an ideal opportunity for youth hunters” compared to the cooler November temperatures during the regular firearm deer season, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Hunters from 10 to 17 years old with a firearm deer license could participate in the youth-only deer season, though an adult must accompany those under age 14.
It is also a great time for mentors to share their knowledge, experience and traditions with future generations.
“The accompanying adult cannot hunt and party hunting is not allowed (youth must tag their own deer), except during the early antlerless season with the correct license,” according to the state regulations.
Minnesota has an estimated 5,000 youth hunters, noted Barb Keller, of the state Department of Natural Resources Big Game Program. She added that hunting is the main way that the state manages its deer population.
The youth-only season began in northwestern Minnesota 15 years ago in select areas. Six years later, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources expanded the program to more locations and extended the number of days from two to four. The annual season begins on the third Thursday of every October and deliberately coincides with an annual period in which many students are out of school.