Missouri Offers First Deer Program for Youth

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Hunters may kill many deer in their lives, but they never forget their first. The Missouri Department of Conservation has a program to help make those memories tangible.

The First Deer Program gives participants commemorative certificates suitable for framing. If the application includes a photograph of the hunter with his or her first deer, the photo is incorporated into the certificate, and the photos are returned with the certificate.

The agency started the program three years ago to recognize young hunters' achievement. Youngsters get a kick out of seeing a reminder of their first successful hunt on the wall. The certificate is a good (and free) substitute for a taxidermist's mount.

The Conservation Department issues several hundred certificates each year. Parents and mentors of first-time hunters often seem as thrilled with the certificates as the hunters themselves.

Any hunter age 15 or younger who kills his or her first deer can get a certificate. You can download an application by visiting www.mdc.mo.gov/hunt/deer/index.htm and clicking on "First Deer Hunting Award." Or contact First Deer/Turkey Certificate, Missouri Department of Conservation, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0180, phone 573/522-4115, ext. 3293.

The Conservation Department offers the same service to first-time turkey hunters.