The annual statewide youth deer hunt will be held the weekend of Oct. 5 and 6, 2013 in Wisconsin. This hunt is designed to give youth hunters ages 10 to 15 an opportunity to hunt deer and gain valuable hunting experience at a time when other hunters are not authorized to hunt deer with a firearm.
Since 2009, hunters ages 10 to 15 have been able to participate in the youth gun deer hunt, which is open to both resident and non-resident youth hunters. In 2012, youth deer hunters registered 139 deer in Oneida County and 8,515 deer were registered statewide during this youth hunt. It is unknown how many youth hunters take advantage of the weekend hunt and that number probably varies depending on the weather conditions.
The hunt is open in all deer management units, except state park units and a few other limited entry areas, (like Sandhill Wildlife Area). The bag limit is one buck with a gun buck carcass tag, plus additional antlerless deer if the hunter has an antlerless deer tag valid in the unit they are hunting in. All youth participating in this hunt between the ages of 10-15 do receive a free antlerless deer tag when they purchase their licenses and those free antlerless youth tags will also be valid in buck only units, (such as DMU’s 39, 29B, 34, 7). All other hunters, (excluding waterfowl hunters) using the woods on Oct 5th and 6th are required to wear blaze orange clothing. Whenever any gun deer hunt is open in the State, (including the youth deer hunt weekend in October, the traditional 9-day gun deer season and the muzzleloader season for example), all archery hunters, small game hunters, turkey hunters, bear hunters, etc. are required to wear 50 percent blaze orange above the waist and if a hat/cap is worn it must be blaze orange.
Youth ages 10 through 15 years who do not possess a hunter education certificate can participate in the youth deer hunt if they are “mentored” by an adult who is at least 18 years of age, has completed a hunter education course if born after Jan 1, 1973, possesses a current year’s Wisconsin hunting license and is within arm’s reach at all times during the hunt. Wisconsin has developed the mentored hunting rules which are more restrictive but still allow people to experience hunting prior to completing a hunter education course with the hopes that they will complete a course and continue to hunt in the future.
Youth ages 12 through 15 who already possess a hunter education certificate must still be accompanied by an adult 18 years of age or older during this special weekend hunt. Adults accompanying these youth hunters may not “gun hunt” for deer during the youth hunt. The adult accompanying a youth Hunter Ed grad does not have to be a licensed hunter or a hunter education graduate themselves to accompany a youth hunter who has already graduated from a safety course. This is different than the mentor hunting rules for hunters who have not completed a hunter safety course.
More information on the requirements for mentoring or accompanying a youth deer hunter can be found in a Youth Hunt Rules and Regulations [PDF] factsheet available on by searching for “youth hunt” on the DNR website and then clicking on the link below Youth Deer Hunt.
For more information, call Keith Warnke at 608-576-5243.