2012-03-15 / Outdoors

Mentored youth hunting licenses are now available

A new program aimed at introducing children under the age of 10 to hunting and fish- ing in Michigan are now available for purchase. The mentored youth hunting license costs $7.50, and is a “package” license that includes small game, spring and fall turkey (private or public land), two deer tags (any deer), a furbearer trapping permit and an all-species fishing li- cense.

“The Department of Natural Re- sources is excited to be offering this new opportunity to youths and their families,” said DNR Direc- tor Rodney Stokes. “Ensuring that Michigan’s natural resources are protected and managed for future generations means we need to be nurturing tomorrow’s conservation- ists today. This new program will introduce children to Michigan’s hunting and fishing heritage, build- ing a lifetime of good memories and a respect of the out-of-doors.”

An adult mentor must be at least 21 years old, have previous hunt- ing experience and possess a valid Michigan hunting license. An- other provision of the law allows 10-year-olds to hunt big game on private land with a firearm, which was implemented starting with the 2011 deer season.

The regulations for Mentored Youth Hunting program include: no limit on the number of youth a mentor can have with him or her in the field, leaving it at the discre- tion of the mentor;

• a limit of two hunting devices – bow, crossbow or firearm – per mentor;

• the youth in possession of a hunting device and engaged in the act of hunting must be within arm’s length of the mentor;

• the mentor shall ensure that the hunting device is sized appropri- ately to fit the physical abilities of the youth to ensure safe and respon- sible handling;

• the mentor will be held respon- sible for the youth’s actions.

The issued deer tags under the youth license can be used for either sex (antlered or antlerless), are not subject to antler point restriction regulations in certain parts of the state. When using a firearm, the tags can be used only on private land, consistent with current state law. Youth hunting with a bow or crossbow may hunt on public or private land.

Voluntary mentor guidelines have been developed by the DNR, and are available at www.michigan. gov/mentoredhunting.

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