New York youth big game hunt scheduled for Columbus Day weekend

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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — Youth hunters in New York will again have an opportunity to hunt big game next month.

New York’s annual Youth Big Game Hunt has been scheduled by the Department of Environmental Conservation for October 9 through October 11, Columbus Day weekend. This year, youth ages 12 through 15 can hunt in upstate counties.

Previously, the DEC only allowed 14- and 15-year-old hunters to participate in this weekend hunt. Now, as all counties north of Westchester, except Erie and Rockland counties, 12- and 13-year-olds can join junior hunters to hunt deer with firearms.

According to the DEC, during this weekend, licensed 12-15-year-olds may use a firearm to hunt big game while accompanied by an experienced and licensed adult hunter. Mentors can not carry a firearm or bow to pursue deer and bear.

All eligible junior hunters are allowed to take one deer. Those ages 14 and 15 can also take one bear. Any deer or bear taken during the youth firearms hunt counts toward the annual bag limit. No extra tags are issued for this special youth season.

During the youth hunt, antlerless deer taken with a firearm may be tagged with a regular-season tag, Deer Management Permit or Deer Management Assistance Program tags. Antlered deer can only be tagged with the regular season tag.

Junior hunters are permitted to hunt deer with a rifle, shotgun or muzzleloading firearm during the Youth Hunt weekend. All participants are required to wear fluorescent orange or punk clothing and to remain at ground level.

A full list of rules for the Youth Big Game Hunt can be found on the DEC website.

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