Nearly 5,700 young deer hunters harvested a deer during the DNR’s first statewide youth season, Oct. 17-20. The tally represents a 77 percent increase from the 2018 youth deer season when the hunt was limited to fewer areas.

“We know that a number of youth license buyers won’t be hunting until the regular firearms deer season, but the large increase in harvest reflects the great response to this new opportunity,” said Barbara Keller, big game program leader for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “Positive early hunting experiences go a long way toward starting or continuing a rewarding fall tradition.”

Before opening day of the Minnesota’s first statewide youth deer hunting season, 21,211 youth licenses had been purchased, up more than 50 percent from last year at the same time.

After the first day of the season, the total increased to 27,960 youth licenses. A total of 7,896 licenses purchased through the youth season were for first-time license holders.

The first regional youth deer hunting season happened in 2004 in northwestern Minnesota.

Over the years, youth deer hunting season expanded to 28 deer permit areas in parts of southeastern and northwestern Minnesota and the Twin Cities metro area where deer are most abundant.

For more information, visit the DNR Web site at www.dnr.state.mn.us.

- Photo courtesy of the Minnesota DNR