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September 28, 2010

MADISON - The ninth annual Wisconsin Youth Gun Deer Hunt will take place statewide on Oct. 9-10.

Under Wisconsin's Mentored Hunting Law, now in its second season, hunters as young as 10 years of age may participate -- with or without hunter education certification -- in the youth gun deer hunt with a mentor. The mentored hunting law also allows deer hunting during later seasons.

The early date of the hunt provides milder weather allowing more time in the field under more comfortable conditions for the youngsters and their hunting mentors. In addition to giving youths their own opportunity to experience the traditions of deer hunting in Wisconsin, the focus is on the youth and allows more time for the mentor to share skills and teach their charges how to hunt safely and ethically.

The hunt will be held in all deer management units (DMUs) statewide, except State Park units, Ft. McCoy, Chambers Island, Menominee County and the Apostle Islands other than Madeline Island.

How to participate

Wisconsin now has two programs designed to introduce youths to deer hunting under controlled conditions and under close supervision of an adult hunter.

  1. Youth hunters 12 through 15 years of age (resident and non-resident) who possess a hunter education certificate of accomplishment and a gun deer hunting license may hunt deer Oct. 9-10 accompanied by an adult 18 years of age or older. "Accompany" means the adult is within both visual and voice contact of the youth. The adult does not have to be a licensed hunter or a hunter education graduate to accompany one or two youth who are at least 12 years of age and have completed a hunter education course.

    Adults accompanying youth hunters:

    • may not "gun hunt" for deer during the youth hunt, but may possess a bow or gun and hunt for another game species that is open for them to hunt at that time;
    • may not accompany more than two youth hunters during the youth gun deer hunt at any given time.

  2. Youth hunters 10-11 years of age, or youth hunters 12-15 years of age who do not possess a hunter education certificate, but possess a mentored gun deer hunting license must be "mentored" by an adult who is within arm's reach at all times during the hunt.

    Qualified adult mentors:

    • must be at least 18 years of age and have the youth's parent or guardian's permission to mentor the youth hunter;
    • must possess a valid hunting license for the current year (any type of game), unless they are mentoring a youth on land that the mentor owns;
    • must be a graduate of a hunter education course or have completed basic training with the U.S. Armed Force if the mentor was born on or after Jan. 1, 1973, they;
    • may only mentor one youth hunter who is age 10 or 11, or who has not completed hunter education at any given time.
    • may not accompany more than two youth hunters. If one youth is hunting under "mentored hunter" rules, the adult may "accompany" no more than one other youth at the same time and only if the second youth is at least 12 to 15 years of age and has completed hunter education.

Additionally, only one firearm may be possessed between the mentor and youth who is age 10 or 11, or who has not completed hunter education, if participating in the youth gun deer hunt.

Qualified youth hunters may harvest one buck deer on their gun buck deer carcass tag and additional antlerless deer with the appropriate carcass tag valid in the unit in which they are hunting. Earn-a-buck restrictions do not apply in EAB units during the youth hunt if the "gun buck deer carcass tag" is used. All hunters and their mentors must observe blaze orange clothing requirements.

If the youth has completed a hunter education course within the last year, they may receive one free antlerless tag from a DNR Service Center during open hours. These antlerless tags are valid statewide during any archery or gun season, including the youth deer hunt.

All deer, bear, and small game hunters, with the exception of waterfowl hunters, also are required to meet blaze orange requirements on these two days.

More information on the youth deer hunt and Mentored Hunting Law is available on the DNR Web site and in the 2010 Wisconsin Deer Hunting Regulations.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Jason Fleener - (608) 261-7589 or Bob Manwell - (608) 264-9248

Last Revised: Tuesday, September 28, 2010

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