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Youth Hunting

Hunting Regulations Icon Indiana Hunting

Youth Hunters Benefit From Low-cost Licenses, Special Dates

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 any Indiana resident age 17 or younger. It includes all hunting and trapping licenses and stamp privileges, including small game, deer, wild turkey, and waterfowl. No additional licenses are needed, unless a federal duck stamp is required (age 16 and older).

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 for details.

Free Hunting Days

Youth free hunting days for 2017 are Sept. 2-3 and Nov. 25-26.

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. 23-24, 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 may harvest both antlered and antlerless deer. The antlered deer counts toward the statewide bag limit of one antlered deer. The number of antlerless deer harvest is determined by the bonus anterless quota for the county 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.

The youth hunter must possess a valid license for hunting deer (youth hunt/trap or other) 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 21-22, 2018.

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 for hunting wild turkey (youth hunt/trap or other). 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 2017 and special turkey hunts in 2018 for youth hunters.

The deer hunt dates are Sept. 23-24 at Muscatatuck and Nov. 4 at Big Oaks.

The turkey hunt dates are April 21-22, 2018 at Muscatatuck and April 22, 2018 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, 2018 for the turkey hunt.

To apply for the Muscatatuck hunts, go to

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources receives Federal financial assistance from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Under Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, and Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, and the U.S. Department of the Interior prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability (or sex in educational programs).