School is out, youth deer hunting season is in

Youth, ages 10-15, can participate in a special deer season that runs from Thursday, Oct. 19, to Sunday, Oct. 22, in 28 permit areas of southeastern and northwestern Minnesota, including in the Twin Cities metro permit area 601, according to the Department of Natural Resources. 

“Youth deer season is about putting the youth’s hunting experience first,” said Mike Kurre, DNR mentoring program coordinator. “Many students get a couple days off school for teacher workshops during the youth season so the long break is a great time to plan a hunt that can teach valuable skills and help grow a youth’s interest in the outdoors.”

Deer permit areas open to the hunt are: 101, 105, 111, 114, 201, 203, 208, 209, 256, 257, 260, 263, 264, 267, 268, 338, 339, 341, 342, 343, 344 (including Whitewater Game Refuge), 345, 346, 347, 348, 349, 601 and 603. Blaze orange or blaze pink requirements apply to all hunters, trappers and adult mentors in areas open for the youth deer season. Public land is open, and private land is open if the hunters have landowner permission.

Youth ages 10 through 15 must obtain a deer license. Youth ages 12 to 15 need to have completed firearms safety or, if not, can obtain an apprentice hunter validation.

During the youth season, a parent, guardian or mentor age 18 or older must accompany the youth and only need a license if the youth is taking advantage of the apprentice validation option. Party hunting on a youth license is not allowed – so youth must take and tag their own deer.

The bag limit for the youth season is one deer only. Youth may use their regular license or a bonus permit if they take an antlerless deer, regardless of the management designation. Bucks must be tagged with the youth’s regular license. Participation does not affect eligibility for the regular deer season; however, the harvested deer counts against the youth’s annual statewide bag limit and the bag limit for the deer permit area.

If hunting in permit areas 346, 348, 349 and 603, the early antlerless only season is in effect from Oct. 19 to Oct. 22, so adults and youth can hunt at the same time in these areas; however, if a youth harvests a deer and wishes to continue hunting during the early antlerless only season they must purchase an early antlerless permit.

Youth hunters in permit area 603 must have their deer tested for chronic wasting disease and cannot move the carcass out of the permit area until a negative test result is received. Properly cut-up deer and boned-out meat can be taken out of the area provided no brain matter or spinal column material is attached. Information on proper steps to follow after harvesting a deer in permit area 603 is available on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/cwd/603.

CWD testing during the youth season is not required in the other permit areas where mandatory testing will occur on Nov. 4 and 5 during the first two days of the firearms deer season.

More information about the youth season can be found on page 34 of the 2017 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook and online at mndnr.gov/regulations/hunting.