DNR taking applications for special youth hunts beginning July 1 (2007-06-26)
Four state parks, two military reservations, two refuges and a nature preserve will provide high quality deer hunting opportunities for 475 young hunters this fall. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is offering ten special youth deer hunts in 2007, at locations with high deer populations that need to be trimmed.
Applications for the special youth deer hunts will be accepted beginning July 1 at any DNR Electronic License System (ELS) vendor, or at the DNR License Center. The deadline for applications is Friday, Aug. 17. Successful applicants will be notified in early September.
There is no fee to apply, although successful applicants will have to purchase the appropriate deer-hunting license prior to their hunt. The youth individual firearms and youth individual archery license costs $14, and are available to residents age 12 to 17.
There will be four archery and six firearms special youth hunts in October. Eligible youth may apply for one archery hunt and one firearms hunt. Youth age 12 to 15 are eligible for the firearms hunts, and youth age 12 to 17 are eligible for the archery hunts. Youth who applied unsuccessfully in the past will have preference. There is a mandatory orientation session for each hunt, and hunters must be accompanied by a parent, guardian, or an adult authorized by the parent. All youth hunters must possess a valid Firearms Safety Certificate.
According to Ryan Bronson, the hunter recruitment program supervisor for DNR, special youth hunts are a part of expanding efforts to get more kids involved in the outdoors.
"Competition for families' limited leisure time is a big obstacle to participation in hunting, and having special events like these outside of the regular hunting season provide an extra opportunity for families to make time for each other," Bronson said. "Plus these controlled hunts enable us to safely trim deer populations on chunks of public land that are not normally open to deer hunting. We get both conservation and recreation benefits."
Camp Ripley and The Nature Conservancy will host archery hunts in Morrison County on Oct. 5 -7. The Arden Hills Army Training Site will host two bowhunts over the Education Minnesota school break, Oct. 18-19, and Oct. 20-21. The Minnesota State Archery Association and the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association help sponsor the hunts.
The Whitewater Wildlife Management Area refuge will allow youth gun hunters over the entire Education Minnesota school break, while Rydell National Wildlife Refuge, Lake Bemidji State Park and Buffalo River State Park will be open Oct. 20-21. Savanna Portage State Park and St. Croix State Park will welcome youth hunters on Oct. 27-28. The Bluffland Whitetails Association and the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association sponsor the hunts.
All of the hunts have a bag limit of one deer of either sex, with the exception of Lake Bemidji State Park, which has a bag limit of five antlerless deer. There is no party hunting, so individual youth must tag their own deer, however they may purchase and use bonus permits for antlerless deer.
Deer harvested during the special youth hunt count against the yearly state bag limit of five deer.
More information about the special youth deer hunts is available on the hunter recruitment page of the DNR Web site, www.dnr.state.mn.us.