Youth Deer Gun Season Offers Young Hunters First Shot
“We want to attract youth to the sport of hunting, because they are the future of the sport and the future of conservation in Oklahoma, and giving them their own deer gun season is a great way to get them involved and out afield with a mentor,” said Colin Berg, education supervisor for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
Last year was the first year youth were allowed to harvest both a buck and a doe during the youth season. Previously, the season was only open antlerless deer hunting.
“We are always working to provide better hunting opportunities to sportsmen, and setting up the season so that youth can harvest a buck or a doe during youth deer gun season makes for a better chance at harvesting a deer and brings more excitement to the hunt,” Berg said.
The youth season is open to hunters under 18 years of age. Youth hunters must be accompanied by a hunter 18 years or older. Youth hunting with an apprentice-designated license must be accompanied by a licensed hunter who is 21 years old or older who is hunter education certified or exempt. Oklahoma kids under the age of 16 are exempt from the purchase of a hunting license and legacy permit, and youth 16 or 17 years old can purchase a combination youth hunting and fishing license for $9 or a youth hunting license for $5. Unless they hold a lifetime hunting or combination license, all youth participants must purchase a $10 youth antlered deer gun license and/or a $10 youth antlerless deer gun license if they want a chance to harvest a buck and a doe. Nonresident youth hunters must possess a nonresident deer license, and those age 14-17 must also purchase a fishing and hunting legacy permit.
Youth hunters who do not harvest a deer during the youth deer gun season may use their unfilled youth deer gun license during the regular deer gun season. Hunters who do harvest a deer during the youth deer gun season may purchase another youth deer gun license and harvest a deer during the regular gun season. Deer taken by hunters participating in the youth deer gun season are included in the hunter’s combined season limit.
For complete information on the apprentice-designated hunting license, youth season regulations and season dates, pick up a copy of the “2007-08 Oklahoma Hunting Guide” or log onto wildlifedepartment.com.
For those youth who do not have their hunter education certification, the Department is offering several courses before the season opens in communities across the state. Some require pre-registration. Log on to wildlifedepartment.com for more information on each available class.