The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has confirmed that junior hunters ages 14-15 will be able to hunt deer during a special youth firearms deer season over Columbus Day Weekend this year, Oct. 6 through Oct. 8, 2012.
“Implementation of this youth deer hunt is a hallmark moment for New York hunters and represents continued efforts of DEC to engage more young people in nature and outdoor recreation,” said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens.
The youth deer hunt will take place Columbus Day weekend in both the Northern Zone and Southern Zone; a youth hunt was not established on Long Island due to restrictions in the Environmental Conservation Law. Junior hunters (ages 14-15) with a big game hunting license will be eligible to take one deer of either sex with a firearm when properly accompanied by a licensed and experienced adult. Junior hunters may use a Deer Management Permit or Deer Management Assistance Program tag for an antlerless deer or, during the youth firearms season only, they may use their regular season tag to take a deer of either sex.
In areas restricted to bowhunting only (Westchester County and parts of Albany and Monroe counties), junior hunters may only use bowhunting equipment to take deer during the youth hunt weekend. “Bowhunting seasons remain open during the youth hunt, but I encourage bowhunters to set your bow aside for the weekend and be a mentor for a youth’s first firearms deer hunt,” Commissioner Martens stated.
While there is pending legislation that may impact future youth hunts, until it has been acted on, DEC’s regulations remain in effect. More details of the Youth Firearms Deer Hunt and rules for junior hunters and their mentors are available at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/46245.html.
DEC also offers special opportunities for junior hunters (ages 12-15) for waterfowl, wild turkey, and pheasants. See www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/52495.html for information about these other programs.