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Rules in Place for South Dakota Mentored Youth Hunts this Fall

From South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission

-- Following action by the Game, Fish and Parks Commission, a framework of rules is in place to allow mentored youth hunting in South Dakota.

The commission's action was prompted by a law passed in the last session of the Legislature that established mentored youth hunting. Now the rules are in place to allow youth who are accompanied by a mentor to hunt this fall.

While the rules governing mentored youth hunting are lengthy, the commission's action at its July meeting in Rapid City was limited to rules governing big game hunting. GFP Game Program Administrator Tom Kirschenmann explained to commissioners that since most of the requirements for mentored youth hunting are set in statute, they do not need to be duplicated in the department's rules.

The commission action sets a price of $5 each for big game licenses that may be purchased by a parent or guardian for mentored hunters. A license would be needed for each of the following: antlerless deer, doe/fawn antelope, fall "any turkey" and spring "one male" turkey. Youth who participate in those mentored hunts are ineligible for regular season licenses for the youth deer, archery or rifle antelope or fall or spring turkey seasons.

The requirements and restrictions governing mentored youth hunts as set by law include:
-- Mentored youth must be at least 10 years old and younger than 16 years of age.

-- A mentored hunter must be accompanied by an unarmed parent, guardian or designated mentor and within immediate physical control and supervision.
       
-- An adult mentor must have written permission from the parent or guardian to serve as a "mentor."

-- An adult mentor cannot accompany more than one mentored child at any given time.

-- A hunting party which includes a mentored youth cannot exceed six total persons.

-- The adult mentor must be a resident and have successfully completed a hunter safety or hunter education course.

-- For each season and associated units, all applicable restrictions apply.

-- Mentor hunts involving migratory game birds will require the adult mentor to possess all required licenses and certifications for that specific season.

-- For upland and migratory hunting, the combined daily limit is not to exceed the limit authorized for the mentor's license, and the possession limit is not to exceed the limit authorized for the adult mentor.

Kirschenmann told commissioners that the department plans to produce a brochure that will include the rules, responsibilities and helpful tips associated with mentored youth hunts. He said there would also be information about the mentored hunts in the GFP Hunting Handbook, on the GFP website, www.sdgfp.info/Index.htm and that the information would be included with big game applications.

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