November 3, 2011

Special Youth Deer Season Set For November 5th-6th

Area youth between the ages of 6 to 15 will be heading to the woods this weekend as part of the Missouri Conservation Department's special youth deer season November 5th and 6th.

Hunters may take one deer of either sex. Additional tags may not be filled until the regular firearms season, which begins November 12th.

Kids that fail to fill their tags will get a second chance January 7th and 8th, 2012, with a second special youth season. Only one antlered deer may be taken during the entire firearms deer season. So if the youth has already taken one antlered deer during one of the other portions of the firearms deer season, he or she may not take another during this portion.

The antler-point restriction does not apply during the youth portions. However, it does apply during the rest of the season.

Youth may use any of the following permits:

Resident Landowner Firearms Any-Deer Hunting Permit (if hunting on qualifying land)

Resident Landowner Firearms Antlerless Deer Hunting Permit (if hunting on qualifying land)

Resident or Nonresident Firearms Any-Deer Hunting Permit

Resident or Nonresident Firearms Antlerless Deer Hunting Permit

If the youth is not hunter-education certified, he or she must hunt in the immediate presence of a qualifying mentor.

One of the goals of the Missouri Department of Conservation is to provide quality hunting opportunities for Missouri's youth. These special youth hunts sometimes coincide with holidays and other hunting seasons. The Conservation Department strives to minimize such conflicts. However, conflicts are inevitable for a number of reasons.

The special youth hunting seasons must be held on weekends so youth can participate without missing school.

There are many opportunities for fall and winter youth hunting seasons, including those for deer (early and late), pheasant and quail, and waterfowl (in three different zones); but the number of weekends available is limited.

Youth hunting seasons are typically scheduled prior to the opening of the "regular" season to maximize the chance of successful harvest.

Several holidays, including Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years' Day, occur within the relatively brief time available for fall and winter hunting.

There is no question that the number and variety of fall hunting opportunities sometimes creates conflict. On the other hand, Missourians have an abundance of hunting opportunities from which to choose. The special youth opportunities provide an important introduction to hunting and allow adults to mentor the next generation of hunters.

Last season, youth hunters checked in 13,263 deer during the early youth portion of Missouri's firearms deer season October 30 and 31. That was the third-largest number in the season's 10-year history and only slightly less than the record.

The first youth season was in 2001, when young hunters checked 6,277 deer. The most ever taken during the two-day hunt was 13,466 in 2004.

The Conservation Department makes it easy to create a lasting reminder of young hunters' first deer. An official First Deer Certificate, complete with congratulations and signature by Conservation Department Director Bob Ziehmer, is available at the mdc website. To create a certificate suitable for framing, you need only fill in the hunter's information, print the form and add a photo

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