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Indiana youth deer season now allows 16- and 17-year-olds

From the Indiana Department of Natural Resources

-- Individuals allowed to participate in Indiana’s two-day youth deer season Sept. 26-27 have been expanded to include 16- and 17-year-olds for the first time.

The special event, which is being held for the fourth consecutive year, provides youth licensed hunters (17 years old or younger) who are accompanied by an adult (18 years old or older) the opportunity to take one antlerless deer in addition to all other tags for the remaining deer seasons.

In the past, youth seasons were open only to hunters 15 years or younger. The new rule defining youth hunters as those 17 years old or younger was passed in July.

“The change in youth season age limit will provide more opportunity to younger hunters," said Chad Stewart, DNR deer biologist. "This season fosters the relationship between young hunters and experienced supervisors as they spend time in the field learning proper hunting ethics and procedures.”

Participants may use any legal equipment, including shotgun, rifle, muzzleloader, bow and arrow or crossbow to harvest deer. Hunter orange must be worn, and the youth hunter must possess a legal license while hunting (either youth consolidated hunting license or apprentice license).

A youth consolidated license requires the youth to have passed the hunter education course; however, the new apprentice hunting license allows a hunter of any age the opportunity to purchase a license without taking hunter education. Individuals with an apprentice hunter license must hunt with a licensed hunter who is older than 18 years of age, and must stay in contact with the adult hunter at all times.

Indiana hunters are limited to three apprentice licenses during their lifetime. This allows time for young hunters to decide if they want to continue hunting when they get older. To do so, they must take a hunter education course.

Indiana youth hunters killed 1,219 antlerless deer during last year’s two-day event.

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