Nearly 5,000 hunters ages 10-15 will take to the fields and forests this weekend during the youth deer season, an annual hunting opportunity that helps develop Minnesota’s next generation of hunters.

“Traditionally most hunters have learned how to hunt from a parent, relative or someone they know well,” said James Burnham, angler and hunter recruitment, retention and reactivation (R3) coordinator with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “Those folks who take time to pass on their hunting knowledge and traditions really deserve a high five because they are carrying on the strong hunting tradition in our state.”

Minnesota’s youth deer season began in 2004 in northwestern Minnesota and since has expanded and encompassed new areas. Currently, the youth season’s 28 permit areas include parts of southeastern and northwestern Minnesota, and the Twin Cities metro permit area 601.

The season is timed during the weekend when many students have school off due to teacher workshops, this year from Thursday, Oct. 18, to Sunday, Oct. 21.

“This weekend may be the first time many youth throw on hunting clothes, learn how to spot a flick of a tail in the woods, or feel what it’s like to take home venison they harvested themselves,” Burnham said.

This weekend’s youth deer season is open to permit areas 101, 105, 111, 114, 201, 203, 208, 209, 256, 257, 260, 263, 264, 267, 268, 338, 339, 341, 342, 343, 344 (including Whitewater State Game Refuge), 345, 346, 347, 348, 349, 601 and 603. Blaze orange or blaze pink requirements apply to all hunters and adult mentors in areas open for the youth firearms deer season. Public land is open, and private land is open if the hunters have landowner permission.

Youth ages 10 through

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