Coyotes Added To Mentored Youth Hunting Program of Pennsylvania
HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe today announced that coyotes will become legal game under the Mentored Youth Hunting Program (MYHP) effective Saturday, Dec. 20.
The addition, which was given final approval by the Board of Game Commissioners at its Oct. 24 meeting, is slated to be published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, the Commonwealth’s official compendium of regulatory actions, which is the final step required for the change to take effect.
Roe noted that the logic behind the MYHP is simple and clear: create expanded youth hunting opportunities without compromising safety afield.
“This program paves the way for youngsters to nurture their interest in hunting early and allows them to take a more active role in actual hunting while afield with mentoring adults,” Roe said. “The program accommodates hands-on use of sporting arms and can promote a better understanding and interest in hunting and wildlife conservation that will help assure hunting’s future, as well as reinforce the principles of hunting safely through the close supervision provided by dedicated mentors.”
When first introduced in the 2006-07 license year, the species identified as legal game were woodchucks (groundhogs), squirrels and spring gobbler. In the 2007-08 license year, the Board approved the addition of antlered deer.
According to the agency’s annual Game-Take Surveys, participation in the MYHP has increased in terms of adult mentors and youths. In 2006, the first year of the program, 43,780 youths were mentored by 32,913 adults. That year, the mentored youths harvested 52,788 squirrels and 36,351 woodchucks. In 2007, the number of mentored youth grew to 58,883, and there were 51,141 adult mentors. That year, mentored youths harvested 61,160 squirrels, 52,114 groundhogs, 5,199 antlered deer and 3,496 spring gobblers.
Under the program, a mentor is defined as a properly licensed individual at least 21 years of age, who will serve as a guide to a youth while engaged in hunting or related activities, such as scouting, learning firearms or hunter safety and wildlife identification. A mentored youth is identified as an unlicensed individual less than 12 years of age who is accompanied by a mentor while engaged in hunting or related activities.
The regulations require the mentor-to-mentored youth ratio be one-to-one, and that the pair possesses only one sporting arm when hunting. While moving, the sporting arm must be carried by the mentor until the pair reaches a stationary hunting location, when the youth may take possession of the sporting arm and be within arm’s length of the mentor at all times.
Those youths participating in the MYHP are required to follow the same antler restrictions as a junior license holder, which is one antler of three or more inches in length or one antler with at least two points. The program also requires that both the mentor and the youth must abide by any fluorescent orange regulations, and that the mentored youth must tag and report any antlered deer or spring gobbler taken by making and attaching a tag that contains his or her name, address, date, WMU, township, and county where it was taken, as well as the number of antlers, if it was a deer harvested. The youth must submit a harvest report card, which is available on page 33 of the 2008-09 Pennsylvania Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations, within five days for any antlered deer or spring gobbler he or she takes.
For more information on the program, visit the Game Commission’s website (www.pgc.state.pa.us) and click on “Mentored Youth FAQs” in “Quick Clicks” box in the upper right corner of the homepage. Information also is included on page 15 of the 2008-09 Pennsylvania Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations, and a sample harvest tag can be found on page 33 of the Digest.
To continue hunting once a youth reaches the age of 12, they will need to and pass a basic Hunter-Trapper Education course and purchase either a junior hunting license or a junior combination license. For a listing of HTE courses, visit the Game Commission’s website (www.pgc.state.pa.us) and click on the “Hunter Education” icon in the center of the homepage.