MADISON — Youth hunters and those interested in mentoring young hunters are reminded to mark their calendars for this year’s youth deer hunt Oct. 8-9.
The youth hunt allows boys and girls ages 10-15 to hunt with a gun or other legal weapon prior to the regular firearm seasons. The youth hunt is open to all resident and non-resident youth hunters with a gun deer license and appropriate tags.
“This is a great opportunity for families and friends to mentor and train young hunters,” said Keith Warnke, hunting and shooting sports coordinator for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. “The memories made last a lifetime and sharing our our amazing nature with our children is incredibly rewarding – I know from personal experiences with my own daughters.”
It is important to note that the Junior Antlerless Deer carcass tag is NOT valid in Ashland, Forest and Sawyer counties. In addition, all hunters in the field are required to wear blaze orange during the Youth Deer Hunt.
All youth hunters must be accompanied by a mentor 18 years of age or older. Youth ages 12-15 with a hunter education certificate may hunt within visual and voice range of a mentor. When accompanying one or two youth ages 12-15 that have successfully completed hunter education, a mentor is not required to possess a hunter education certificate or a current hunting license.
Hunters ages 10 and 11, as well as those ages 12-15 that have not completed hunter education, may gain hunting experience under the Hunting Mentorship Program. This program requires youth to hunt within arm’s reach of a qualified mentor who has completed hunter education and holds a current hunting license.
Only one weapon may be possessed jointly between youth and mentor. Mentors may not hunt using a firearm during the youth deer hunt weekend, and must possess a valid Wisconsin hunting license for the current hunting season. License type does not matter, unless the mentor will be hunting other game.
Hunters of all ages are reminded to follow the four rules of firearm safety:
- Treat every gun as if it were loaded;
- Always point the muzzle in a safe direction;
- Be sure of your target and beyond; and
- Keep your finger out of the trigger guard until you are ready to shoot.
First-time hunters and those that have not purchased a license in at least 10 years are eligible for a discounted first-time buyer license. Visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword “license” for more information.
As in previous years, those new to hunting can celebrate their first harvest with the official first deer or first hunt certificate. Simply follow the instructions on the page to upload a photo of your first deer and describe your experience. For more information, and to create your own first deer certificate, search keywords “first deer.”