Youth Firearm Deer Hunt November 19

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Properly licensed and supervised youth hunters will be allowed to firearm hunt for one deer on Saturday, November 19, as part of the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife’s popular Take a Kid Hunting Program.

This special statewide firearm deer hunt offers young hunters a chance to share the hunting experience with a parent or mentor in a setting that reinforces the principles of responsible, ethical and safe hunting. Providing a special day for young hunters to be afield also increases their chances of harvesting a deer.

Although it is difficult to estimate the number of youth hunters that participate in this special hunt, the number of deer harvested has ranged from 709 – 888 over the last four years. In most deer management zones the youth deer hunt harvest represents less than 1-2% of the total zone harvest.

The first Youth Firearm Deer Hunt was held during the 2001-2002 season when the Fish and Game Council added it to the Game Code. Participation in youth hunts is expected to mirror hunter education course graduate rates. The dramatic decline in hunter education graduates that began in the mid-90’s has stabilized during the recent past and actually increased in 2004 for the first time in ten years.

Similar to the Youth Deer Bow Hunt Day held in September, and the state’s special youth hunts for waterfowl, pheasant and wild turkey, Youth Firearm Deer Hunting Day is intended for young hunters who have successfully completed a hunter education course and obtained a youth license.

The youth hunter must be under the direct supervision of a licensed, non-shooting adult aged 21 or older. Direct supervision means that both the youth hunter and parent/guardian are set up together at the same location, hunting as a unit and not independently. The adult cannot hunt or possess a firearm. However, he or she can grunt call or rattle for the youth. In addition to the youngster, the accompanying adult should wear the required hunter orange.

On this day, young hunters may hunt with either a shotgun or muzzleloader for one deer of either sex. If using a muzzleloader, both the youth and accompanying adult must have valid rifle permits. Neither the "Earn-a-Buck" requirement, nor antler point restrictions apply on this day for the youth hunter.

The Youth Firearm Hunt is an extension of the Six-day Firearm Season, so no special season deer permit is required. Youth hunters can still harvest two antlered deer during the statewide Six-day Firearm Season December 5-10, 2005. Hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.

Successful hunters must tag their deer with a homemade transportation tag and take it to the nearest official checking station. The tag must include the youth hunting license number, sex of the deer, number of antler points (if any), date, zone, county and township from which the deer was taken, and must state "Taken During the Six-day Firearm Season Youth Hunt." A supplemental tag will not be issued.