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Frequently Asked Questions About the Mentored Youth Hunting Program


-PROGRAM RULES

What is the Mentored Youth Hunting Program?
The Mentored Youth Hunting Program is a set of rules and a package license that allows hunters under 10 years old to hunt under adult supervision. The program became effective in March of 2012 per state statute that eliminated the minimum hunting age and authorized the Natural Resources Commission to establish rules for hunters under 10 years old.  Mentored youths must be accompanied by an adult at least 21 years old, with hunting experience and possession of a valid Michigan license to hunt other than an apprentice license. The hunting party may not exceed two hunting devices (shotgun, rifle, bow, crossbow, or slingshot) in the field per mentor (adult). The youth hunter must be within arm's length of the mentor (adult) at all times when handling a hunting device and when in the act of hunting.  Any hunting device possessed by a mentored youth must be sized appropriately to fit the physical abilities of the mentored youth. The mentor (adult) will be held responsible for all actions of the mentored youth hunter while in the field.

How many youth hunters can I mentor in the field?
The regulations and law do not put a limit on the number of mentored youth hunters (children) a mentor (adult) may take in the field with him or her. However, the mentor (adult) is limited to two hunting devices (shotgun, rifle, bow or crossbow) in the field while mentoring a youth hunter. The DNR strongly suggests you limit the number of mentored youth hunters (children) to one or two to ensure a high-quality, safe and enjoyable time for your mentored youth hunter.

If my child is 9 on March 1, but will turn 10 later in the year, is he or she too old to participate in the Mentored Youth Hunting Program?
No; if a customer purchases a mentored youth hunting license for a child who is 9, but turns 10 during the season, it will still be valid. As long as the license was legal or correct at the time of purchase, it will remain valid for the duration of the season.


-LICENSE

How much does a mentored youth hunting license cost?
The cost for a mentored youth license is $7.50. The fee was established in the legislation that created the license. The license must be purchased using the child's State of Michigan ID or DNR Sportcard. A DNR Sportcard can be purchased for $1. The state ID or sportcard gives the child a unique identifying number in the DNR's license sales system. Do not purchase a license for a youth hunter using the parent or guardian's ID.

Can a nonresident youth purchase the mentored youth license?
Yes, the parent or guardian of the nonresident youth would need to purchase a $1 DNR Sportcard for the non-resident youth hunter. The Sportcard gives the youth a unique identifying number in the DNR's license sales system.

What hunting privileges are provided under this license?
The license is a "package" license that entitles the mentored youth hunter to:

  • Hunt small game (including waterfowl)
  • Hunt turkey (spring and fall, any hunt period/location, on private or public land)
  • Hunt deer (one tag, any deer unless during an antlerless-only season)
  • Trap furbearers
  • Fish for all species

What is the apprentice license?
The apprentice license is for anyone 10 years of age and older who has not received hunter safety certification. An individual may hunt with an apprentice license for two license years. For apprentices between ages 10-16, the accompanying hunter must be the apprentice's parent, guardian, or someone designated by the parent or guardian. A 9-year-old must be 10 by Sept. 15 to purchase this license.

What license does my youth hunter purchase after receiving hunter safety certification?
Hunters 10 years of age or older with hunter safety certification, you can purchase regular hunting licenses.


-HUNTING, TRAPPING, & FISHING

What hunting privileges are provided under this license?
The license is a "package" license that entitles the mentored youth hunter to:

  • Hunt small game (including waterfowl)
  • Hunt turkey (spring and fall, any hunt period/location, on private or public land)
  • Hunt deer (one tag, any deer unless during an antlerless-only season)
  • Trap furbearers
  • Fish for all species

Can the deer tag for a mentored youth hunter be used on public land with a firearm?
Mentored youth hunting deer on public land can fill their deer tag using a bow or crossbow only, consistent with current state law for youth under 14 years old. Youth who are under 10 and want to hunt deer with a firearm may only hunt on private land or commercial forest land.

Is the deer tag issued with the mentored youth license valid for any deer?
The mentored youth hunter is issued one deer tag that is valid for any deer, except during an antlerless-only season.  Only antlerless deer may be harvested during antlerless-only seasons such as the early antlerless season or the late antlerless season.  During any season when it is legal to harvest a buck, antler point restrictions (APR) do not apply to mentored youth hunters.

Do antler point restrictions apply to my mentored youth hunter?
No; a mentored youth hunter may harvest any male deer unless hunting during an antlerless-only season.  Only antlerless deer may be harvested during an antlerless season.

There are so many deer seasons; how can my mentored youth participate?

  • Early Antlerless - Tag valid on antlerless only; any open DMU; private land only.
  • Liberty Hunt - Tag valid on any deer; archery and crossbow can hunt on public land; firearm limited to private land.
  • Archery - Tag valid on any deer; archery and crossbow can hunt on public or private land.
  • Regular Firearm - Tag valid on any deer; firearm limited to private land.
  • Muzzleloading - Tag valid on any deer; muzzleloaders limited to private land.
  • Late Antlerless - Tag valid on antlerless only; any open DMU; private land only.

Does my mentored youth hunter have to apply for a turkey management unit hunt?
No, a mentored youth hunter can hunt in any turkey management unit or on private land during any days when the turkey hunting season is open. No application is required for mentored youth hunters.

Are the turkey tags issued with the mentored youth license valid for any turkey?
A turkey kill tag issued under the mentored youth hunting license is valid for one turkey during any hunt period, in any open hunt unit, and on private or public land.

Can my mentored youth hunter take part in a waterfowl season?
Yes; the mentored youth hunting license includes a small game license.  A mentored youth hunter may harvest migratory waterfowl with a small game license (with Harvest Information Program (HIP) endorsement on the back) and does not need to obtain a Michigan waterfowl hunting license or a federal migratory bird hunting stamp.  All season dates and bag limits apply to mentored youth hunters. Mentored youth may hunt waterfowl with a firearm on public or private land.

What small game can my mentored youth harvest?
A mentored youth hunter can hunt rabbit, hare, squirrel (fox and gray), pheasant, ruffed grouse, sharp-tailed grouse, woodcock (HIP endorsement required), quail, crow, coyote (applies to Michigan residents only), and waterfowl during open seasons on private or public land. Opossum, porcupine, weasel, red squirrel, skunk, ground squirrel and woodchuck also may be taken year-round with a license.

What furbearers can my mentored youth harvest?
A mentored youth hunter can trap fox, coyote, raccoon, muskrat, beaver, skunk, and opossum.  A mentored youth must be at least 8 years old to trap bobcat, otter, fisher, or marten and must obtain the appropriate free kill tags.

Are there any seasons that are closed to my mentored youth hunter?
Yes; mentored youth hunters may not hunt for bear, elk or wolf in Michigan. Participants in these limited-draw or limited-license hunts must be hunter safety-certified and at least 10 years old.  Mentored youth hunters may not harvest bobcat, otter, marten, or fisher unless the mentored youth is at least 8 years old and has obtained the appropriate free kill tags.  In addition, there may be specific hunt days or seasons for people with disabilities or veteran status for which mentored youth hunters may not qualify.

When can my mentored youth hunter hunt with a slingshot?
A slingshot is considered a single-projectile hunting device and can be used to hunt small game. Season dates, bag limits, and mentored youth hunting program rules still apply.

What if my child just wants to fish? Does he or she need a mentored youth license?
No, if your child just wants to fish, he or she can fish in Michigan without a license until age 17.


- SAFETY

Does my child under 10 need hunter safety classes first?
There is no requirement in the Mentored Youth Hunting program that the youth hunter take a hunter safety course first.

Is it safe to take children under 10 hunting?
The intent of the law is to let parents and guardians, not the government, decide when a child is ready to hunt. Statistically speaking, youth hunters are the safest hunters in the woods because of the direct adult supervision they receive.




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