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Michigan approves mentored youth hunting for 2012

From Michigan Department of Natural Resources

-- A new program aimed at introducing children under the age of 10 to hunting and fishing has been approved by Michigan’s Natural Resources Commission. It will begin with the start of the 2012 season. Licenses go on sale March 1.

The $7.50 Mentored Youth Hunting license will be 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 license.

Adult mentors must be at least 21 years old, have previous hunting experience and possess a valid Michigan hunting license. The law allows 10-year olds to hunt big game on private land with a firearm, implemented with the 2011 deer season.

The regulations approved by the NRC for the 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 discretion of the mentor. There is a limit of two hunting devices – bow, crossbow or firearm – per mentor.

Youth in possession of a hunting device and engaged in the act of hunting must be within arm’s length of the mentor.  It is the mentor’s responsibility to ensure the hunting device is sized appropriately to fit the physical abilities of the youth hunter to ensure safe and responsible handling.

Mentors will be held responsible for the youth’s actions.

The issued deer tags under the Mentored Youth Hunting license can be used for either sex (antlered or antlerless), are not subject to antler point restriction regulations in certain parts of the state and can only be used on private land, consistent with current state law.

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

A workgroup of representatives from several conservation organizations developed recommendations for regulations, which were adopted by the NRC. Organizations included the Michigan United Conservation Clubs, the National Wild Turkey Federation, Pheasants Forever, the Michigan Trappers and Predator Callers Association, Ducks Unlimited and the Michigan Hunter Safety Education Instructor Association.

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