Mentored Youth Hunting on the NRC AgendaJanuary 12th, 2012
As you all know by now, legislation was signed by Governor Snyder in 2011 to eliminate the minimum hunting age in Michigan and to direct the Michigan Natural Resources Commission to create and implement a Mentored Youth Hunting Program that allows aspiring youth hunters to join their parents and relatives outdoors to take part in the heritage, safety, and traditions that have been a part of Michigan’s history for centuries.
The NRC is currently accepting public comments on the workgroup’s proposal to define the rules and regulations for “mentored youth”, that is, youth under 10 years old at the time of a license purchase.
Their next meeting is on Thursday, February 9 in Dearborn, you can view their recent January agenda and follow the link to read the full proposal here. Public comments will begin after 3:30 PM.
Under the statute, the Department of Natural Resources will offer a Mentored Youth Hunting license starting on March 1, 2012. The $7.50 license will be a “package” license that includes small game, spring and fall turkey, two deer tags, a furbearer trapping permit and an all-species fishing license. This mentored youth license is only available for youth under age 10 at the time of purchase and can be obtained every year they hunt under age 10. An adult mentor must be at least 21 years old, have previous hunting experience and possess a valid Michigan hunting license.
The proposal before the NRC for the Mentored Youth Hunting program include:
• No limit on the number of youth a mentor can have with him or her in the field, leaving it at the discretion of the mentor.
• A limit of two hunting devices – bow, crossbow or firearm – per mentor.
• The youth in possession of a hunting device and engaged in the act of hunting must be within arm’s length of the mentor.
• The mentor shall ensure that the hunting device is sized appropriately to fit the physical abilities of the youth to ensure safe and responsible handling. A law enforcement officer may request that the mentored youth demonstrate the operation of their hunting device’s safety features, as applicable.
• The mentor will be held responsible for the youth’s actions.
• The issued deer tags under the Mentored Youth Hunting license can be used for either sex (antlered or antlerless), are not subject to antler point restriction regulations in certain parts of the state and can only be used on private land, consistent with current state law (youth currently must be 14 to hunt deer, bear, or elk with a firearm on public land, this regulation will stay in place until new legislation can be enacted).
• A voluntary Mentor Guide program will be developed by the DNR to educate and inform mentors of their responsibilities.
The order is eligible for an NRC vote at the Feb. 9 meeting in Dearborn.
Public comment on the proposed regulations can be made at the January or February meeting. Written comments can be sent to the NRC’s executive assistant Deb Whipple at firstname.lastname@example.org or via US Mail to Natural Resources Commission, P.O. Box 30028, Lansing, MI 48909.
If you haven’t already done so, please contact the NRC and share your support of this initiative to get more kids experiencing Michigan’s great outdoors!