Youth can hunt deer with adult mentors during special hunts

Youth can apply to hunt deer in select state parks and other refuge areas during 16 special deer hunts in October and November. 

“These special hunts provide the opportunity for parents or other adult mentors to go afield with youth to hunt deer,” said Mike Kurre, Department of Natural Resources mentoring coordinator. “Deer hunting can be an extremely positive experience for youth.”

Youth have through Friday, Aug. 18, to apply for the hunts. Of the 16 special hunts, 14 are firearms hunts for youth ages 12 to 15, and two are archery hunts for youth ages 12 to 17.

Participation in other deer hunting seasons remains an option for youth who take part in the special youth deer hunts, but any deer harvested count against the youth’s season bag limit. An adult parent, guardian or mentor must accompany the youth at all times while hunting, but only the youth may hunt. Both youth and mentor must attend a mandatory pre-hunt orientation.

A limited number of either-sex permits are available for each hunt. However, for the hunts in Buffalo River, Camden and Lake Shetek state parks youth need to harvest an antlerless deer before getting a permit to harvest a buck.

Youth must apply for the hunt of his or her choice, which can be done anywhere DNR licenses are sold, at the DNR License Center, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, or online at mndnr.gov/buyalicense. For archery hunts, apply with code 630; for firearms hunts, apply with code 631.

If the number of applications exceeds the number of permits, the DNR will randomly draw names to choose participants. Youth may apply for one archery hunt and one firearms hunt. Successful applicants also must meet all firearms safety requirements, purchase appropriate licenses and follow hunting regulations.

In addition to the 16 application-only hunts in state parks and refuge areas, any youth ages 10 to 15 also can participate in the youth deer season that runs Oct. 19-22, in 27 permit areas that encompass portions of southeastern and northwestern Minnesota and portions of the Twin Cities metro area.

More information and a list of hunts and orientations can be found at mndnr.gov/discover.