Saturday, Oct. 22 is Youth Deer Hunting Day, when young hunters across the state of Maine will have their own day to hunt deer.
“Hunting is a wonderful way to learn about conservation, responsibility, patience, and respect for our vast natural resources,” said Chandler Woodcock, commissioner of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife, “And Youth Deer Hunting Day gives all hunters an opportunity to share that with a young hunter.”
The number of junior hunting licenses and lifetime hunting licenses issued to those under age 16 has increased over the last 10 years, going from 21,395 in 2006 to 24,332 in 2015. This growing segment of hunters mirrors the overall trends that have seen the number of hunting licenses increase for five straight years. Hunting continues to be an economic catalyst in much of Maine, supporting more than 3,400 jobs with an economic output of more than $338 million.
On Youth Deer Hunting Day, youth hunters who possess a junior hunting license can hunt deer if they are under the direct supervision of a parent, guardian, or a qualified adult. Any person who accompanies a junior hunter other than that parent or guardian must either possess a valid hunting license or have successfully completed a hunter safety course. A qualified adult is a person at least 18 years of age approved by that youth hunter’s parent or guardian, and this person must hold a valid Maine hunting license or have successfully completed a hunter safety course. The accompanying adult cannot possess a firearm.
The junior hunter on this day can take one deer of either sex in a wildlife-management district where any-deer permits were issued. In districts where there are no any-deer permits issued, junior hunters may take only an antlered deer. All laws pertaining to hunting during the open firearms season on deer apply on Youth Deer Hunting Day.
The Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife uses the any-deer permit system to manage the white-tailed deer population in Maine. By controlling the harvest of female deer in the 29 regional wildlife-management districts throughout the state, biologists can manage population trends.
Any hunter under the age of 16 may purchase a junior hunting license. Junior hunters must be under the supervision of an adult while hunting. Hunters from 10–15 years of age must be in the presence of, and under the effective control of, an adult supervisor. Hunters under the age of 10 must be in the presence of, and under the effective control of, an adult supervisor who remains at all times within 20 feet of the hunter.
Hunters can also transfer their any-deer permits or bonus-deer permit to a junior hunter, or any other hunter. Certain restrictions apply, including that a resident permit may only be transferred to another resident, and a nonresident permit may only be transferred to another nonresident. This transfer can be done online at bit.ly/2elgIdU until 11:59 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 30. For more information on how to swap or transfer a permit, go to bit.ly/2ehXDYw.
Those who plan to take a young hunter out on Youth Deer Hunting Day should remember, that pre-season scouting can be critical in the success of any hunt, and scouting should include seeking landowner permission on the land on which one wants to hunt. Asking for permission only takes a minute, and the time that it takes benefits both the hunter and the future