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Recommendations for Mentored Youth Hunting Program Presented at NRC

December 12th, 2011

A workgroup comprised of an MUCC representative—Youth Camp Director Liz Roxberry; other conservation groups; hunters safety experts; and youth hunters presented recommendations for regulations for mentored youth hunting in Michigan to the Michigan Natural Resources Commission at their December meeting.

See below for a video update:

Dec. 15th OD: Youth Mentor Program from OD Show on Vimeo.

As a refresher, legislation was signed by Governor Snyder this summer to eliminate the minimum hunting age in Michigan and to direct the Michigan Natural Resources Commission to create and implement a Mentored Youth Hunt 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. This “Hunter Heritage” legislation was sparked by Rob Miller, of Byron Center, MUCC member and chair of its Wildlife Committee, who passed a resolution requesting legislation to create a mentored youth hunt program at MUCC’s annual convention in 2010.

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 workgroup recommendations for the Mentored Youth Hunting program include:

    1. • 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.
      • 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 NRC has directed the DNR to come forward with a Wildlife Conservation Order to create the regulations for Mentored Youth Hunting at the Jan. 12 meeting in Lansing. The order would be 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 or via US Mail to Natural Resources Commission, P.O. Box 30028, Lansing, MI 48909.

    Since this was a major policy initiative for MUCC for the last year, we hope that every one of our members will support this order in writing or in person at the next NRC meeting in January!

    • Curtstevens1

      What is new about this? I’ll tell you, the new part is selling more licenses for things that parents used to do without special seasons and such. I taught my sons to hunt and fish by simply taking them along with me on such trips when they were even too small to take part in it, but then when they were old enough they initiated going to the next level which was getting their own license. We are killing off more deer than we should because of many factors, increased doe permits, a large increase in special hunting seasons and possibly more poaching (that part is only a guess). Listen, either parents are going to bring along the next generation or they aren’t. Hunting and fishing tradition has always been passed down from generation to generation in a family, it was a natural process. I don’t think this process has ended, I think that as we get further and further away from our agricultural roots, this will also naturally die out simply because of lack of interest. Just like outside drive ins had their heyday, but lost their appeal, like horse and buggy. The people who miss it the most are those who can’t do it because of physical handicap and those who profit in the business part of the activity. Lets not kill all the deer off because we are trying to keep something going that is simply, naturally, dying off. Like I said, I have passed this on to my children without any candy from the state, so do others who are as gung ho for this type of activity, there are simply fewer parents who are gung ho for it.

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    • Jason Hesselberg

      This is a great thing its about time that Michigan gets caught up what other states have been doing for years. I have 4 kids (all girls) and they all have been coming along with me hunting and fishing and learning about our great outdoors. But they have all wanted to be the shooter and not just going along. I have girls that just aren’t strong enough to pull back a bow of 40lbs and shoot accurately with it. So they had to wait until they were old enough to use a gun since Michigan laws would not allow them to hunt. Now my 17 and 15yr old have no interest in it. So I have taken my 13 yr old to another state to hunt since she was 10, and now she just can’t get enough of it. She has taken some great deer and I think she will hunt for the rest of her life. Since the laws have changed in Michigan I will be able to take my 8 yr old out hunting now and she can’t wait and is out practicing with a crossbow all the time. A kid that is into our great outdoors usually get into less trouble than kids that are not.Thanks Michigan for getting it right

    • Fiferlarry

      This is a good deal. I have 3 grandkids that live in the city. I have no problem taking them to hunt, but one parent says that it’s not legal, and that ends it. Now I am getting to take two of them hunting with the two programs that the state has started.

      One is 9, but will bet ten two weeks before opening day for turkey, she has a call and has been praticing of a year now, and looking forward to it. She does a good job with a crossbow, and if we can get the turkey to help us out, she will do well.

      The other is 7, will be 8 for the season, shoots the crossbow better than I do, and has tried to convince me he will be ten by the start of the season. Now with the new law on Mentoring, he will just be eight, as should be.

      Thank you Michigan

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