In Indiana, youth hunters have a number of special opportunities to help them get outdoors.
It starts with a low-cost hunting license and special hunting dates set aside for them.
The resident youth hunt/trap license is $7 for anyone age 17 or younger. It includes annual hunting, annual trapping, deer, wild turkey, Indiana game bird habitat stamp, Indiana waterfowl migratory stamp.
The license also is available to nonresident youth (age 17 or younger) who have a parent, grandparent or legal guardian who is an Indiana resident.
Nonresident youth who don’t qualify for the $7 license can buy the appropriate nonresident youth license — annual hunting, deer, turkey, or trapping — at the same rate as a resident adult license, which is less than nonresident adult licenses.
There also are special hunt dates for youth age 17 and younger, and many DNR-managed properties offer youth hunting events as part of their outreach programs. Check wildlife.IN.gov/2701.htm for details.
Free Hunting Days
Youth free hunting days for 2016 are Sept. 3-4 and Nov. 26-27.
Any resident age 17 or younger on the date of the hunt can take any legal game in season during these youth free hunting days.
To participate, the youth must be accompanied by an adult who is at least 18 years of age.
The youth hunter does not have to possess a hunting license, Harvest Information Program (HIP) number or any state stamp but must comply with all other hunting regulations.
To hunt waterfowl, a Federal duck stamp is required for all persons 16 years or older.
The youth’s adult partner must be in close enough proximity to monitor and be able to communicate with the youth hunter at all times. The adult may help the youth hunter with calling game but may not carry a firearm, crossbow, or bow and arrow, except for a handgun carried lawfully. The adult must possess a valid hunting license, unless exempted from needing a license.
Youth Deer Season
Youth deer season is Sept. 24-25, 2016. Youth age 17 or younger on the date of the hunt can participate but must be accompanied by an adult who is at least 18 years of age.
The youth hunter can take an antlered deer and one (or more) antlerless deer. The youth hunter’s antlerless deer limit is determined by the bonus county quota for the county being hunted. A youth hunter can take only one antlerless deer in a county with a bonus antlerless quota of “A” during the special youth deer season. An antlered deer harvested during the youth season counts toward the statewide bag limit of one antlered deer.
The youth hunter must possess a valid deer hunting license while in the field, unless exempt from needing a license. The youth’s adult partner must possess a valid hunting license of any type that is not an apprentice license.
The youth hunter and adult partner must wear hunter orange.
The youth hunter may use a legal firearm, bow and arrow, or crossbow to take a deer.
The adult partner cannot take a deer and may not possess a firearm, muzzleloader, bow and arrow, or crossbow while in the field with the youth hunter, except for a handgun carried lawfully.
Only one antlerless deer may be taken on DNR-managed Fish and Wildlife areas and some other DNR properties.
The youth hunter must comply with all other deer hunting regulations.
Youth Turkey Season
The youth wild turkey season is April 22-23, 2017.
Youth age 17 or younger on the date of the hunt can participate but must be accompanied by an adult who is at least 18 years of age.
The youth hunter must possess a valid license to take a wild turkey. The adult partner must possess a turkey hunting license and game bird habitat stamp if participating in the hunt (i.e., calling turkeys) unless exempt from license requirements.
The youth hunter may take only one bearded or male wild turkey during spring, which includes both the youth and regular spring turkey seasons. The youth must comply with all other turkey hunting regulations.
The youth hunter may use any legal shotgun, bow and arrow, or crossbow. The youth’s adult partner must not possess a firearm, bow and arrow, or crossbow while in the field, except for a handgun carried lawfully.
National Refuge Hunts
Big Oaks and Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuges will have special deer hunts in 2016 and special turkey hunts in 2017 for youth hunters.
The deer hunt dates are Sept. 24-25 at Muscatatuck and Oct. 29 at Big Oaks.
The turkey hunt dates are April 22-23, 2017 at Muscatatuck and April 23, 2017 at Big Oaks.
Both Big Oaks hunts include an optional workshop and luncheon the day before.
To apply for either Big Oaks hunt, send a postcard that includes the youth’s name, address and phone number to Big Oaks NWR, 1661 W. JPG Niblo Road, Madison, IN 47250. The deadline is Oct. 1 for the deer hunt and April 1, 2017 for the turkey hunt.
To apply for the Muscatatuck hunts, go to wildlife.IN.gov/5834.htm