Minnesota’s Take-A-Kid Hunting Weekend is Sept. 20-21
Introductory experiences are important first steps for young people
learning life skills. The Take-A-Kid Hunting Weekend, Sept. 20-21, is
intended to give young people an introductory experience in hunting,
according to Ryan Bronson, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
hunter recruitment coordinator.
Under state law, adults who take a youngster under the age of 16 small-game
hunting anywhere in the state of Minnesota are not required to purchase a
hunting license during the special Take-A-Kid Hunting Weekend.
“Surveys and research indicate that many kids want to try hunting, but they
need someone to take them,” Bronson said. “For parents who might not be
serious hunters themselves, or for adults whom only hunt big game, this
gives them an opportunity to take a kid out in the field pursuing squirrels,
grouse or rabbits.”
Minnesota has millions of acres of federal, state, and local public land
that are open to hunting. Generally, state wildlife management areas and
state forests are open to public hunting, as well as some scientific and
natural areas. Federally owned national forests and waterfowl production
areas, and portions of most refuges are open to hunting as well. Good
sources of information on public hunting lands are the DNR’s Public
Recreation Information Maps (PRIM) available at many sporting goods stores.
The maps can be ordered on-line at
Many landowners are willing to allow hunters onto their land to hunt small
game if the hunters seek permission first. According to Minnesota Statute
604A.23, landowners who grant hunters to access their land for no charge do
not assume liability or responsibility for injuries to persons or property.
Bronson offered tips for adults who plan to take young people hunting:
• emphasize safety first; practice muzzle control, walk with an unloaded
firearm, and when shooting, be aware of what is beyond the target
• teach; even if the child is not ready to hunt, have the child accompany
you and explain the hows and whys of the hunting experience
• take your time; teaching patience is an important lesson and rushing can
lead to unsafe actions
• make sure the young person is comfortable, well-rested, fed and hydrated.
The firearm should fit properly and the youth should be dressed comfortably
• set good expectations; competition is best left on the athletic field;
success should be measured by the enjoyment of the hunt and not in the
number of game in the bag
• focus on squirrels and rabbits – game species that are plentiful and offer
young people reasonable opportunities for success
• follow the hunt with a game dinner because completing the cycle is
important for kids, and putting game on the table should be celebrated.
“Roasting rabbits and squirrels on low heat or making a stew are simple and
delicious ways to prepare small game,” Bronson noted.
Resident youth under the age of 16 are never required to purchase a small
game license, but youth over the age of 12 are required to have a Firearms
Safety Training Certificate. Youth under the age of 14 must be accompanied
by a parent or designated guardian while hunting.
For more information about hunting regulations, consult the 2003 Minnesota
Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook, available where hunting licenses
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