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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 www.dnr.state.mn.us/maps/prim.html.

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 are sold.

 

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