Children under 10 years of age are not allowed to hunt.
Children must have a junior hunting license to hunt. Junior hunting license holders can hunt with a firearm, bow and arrow, or crossbow (see Laws Pertaining to Hunting Equipment for additional crossbow information). The junior hunting license also includes hunting permits for muzzleloading, spring and fall turkey, bear, coyote night hunt, pheasant, one expanded archery antlerless deer permit and one either sex permit. A junior hunting license issued to a person who has passed that person’s 15th birthday is valid through the calendar year for which the license is issued. All other permit requirements for a person who is 16 years of age or older apply to a person who continues to hunt with a junior hunting license.
Junior hunters may hunt only in the presence of an adult supervisor who is at least 18 years of age. That presence must be unaided by visual or audio enhancement devices, including binoculars and citizen band radios. The person who accompanies a youth hunter is responsible for any violations committed by that hunter. Any person who accompanies a junior hunter, other than the parent or guardian, must either possess a valid adult hunting license or have successfully completed a hunter education course.
A junior hunter who turns 16 years of age must complete the appropriate safety course prior to hunting without supervision.
Youth Hunting Days
Junior hunters who hold a valid junior hunting license can participate in special youth hunting days for bear, deer, spring wild turkey, and migratory waterfowl. On these days, all laws pertaining to hunting deer, spring wild turkey, and waterfowl apply.
- Youth Bear Hunting Day: Occurs on August 29, 2015, which is the Saturday prior to the opening day of the bear hunting season. A licensed junior hunter may hunt bear with a firearm, bow and arrow, or crossbow during the youth bear hunting day. Use of dogs is prohibited; hunting over bait or still hunting is permitted. The accompanying parent, guardian, or qualified adult shall not possess a firearm, bow and arrow, or crossbow while accompanying a participating youth hunter.
- Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days: See the Migratory Game Bird Hunting Schedule (a separate publication).
- Youth Deer Hunting Day: Occurs on October 24, 2015, which is the first Saturday preceding the residents only day of the regular deer hunting season. Participants are allowed to take one deer of either sex (except that in WMDs where no antlerless deer permits are issued, youth hunters are prohibited from shooting antlerless deer), with either a firearm, bow and arrow, or crossbow. If a junior hunter shoots a deer on the youth deer hunting day, they are prohibited from taking any additional deer, unless they have been awarded a bonus antlerless-deer permit or participate in the expanded archery season (designated areas only) with appropriate expanded archery permits. The accompanying parent, guardian, or qualified adult shall not possess a firearm, bow and arrow, or crossbow while accompanying a participating youth hunter.
- Youth Spring Wild Turkey Hunting Day: Occurs on April 30, 2016, which is the first Saturday preceding the opening of the spring wild turkey hunting season. Participants may take up to two bearded wild turkeys with a shotgun, bow and arrow, or crossbow, but cannot exceed an individual WMD bag limit. The accompanying parent, guardian, or qualified adult shall not possess a firearm, bow and arrow, or crossbow while accompanying a participating youth hunter.
NEW JUNIOR HUNTING LAWS
- Effective January 1, 2016, new law eliminates the minimum age requirement for junior hunting license holders and allows any hunter under the age of 16 to purchase a junior hunting license.
- Hunters from 10–15 years of age must be in the presence of, and under the effective control of, an adult supervisor.
- Hunters under the age of 10 must be in the presence of, and under the effective control of, an adult supervisor who remains at all times within 20 feet of the hunter.
- The adult supervisor of the junior hunter must hold, or have held, a valid adult hunting license or have successfully completed a hunter safety course.