Youth hunters record another safe year with more than 1,800 deer harvests reported

State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos announced results of the second year of a pilot program allowing mentored 12- and 13-year-old hunters to harvest deer with a firearm or crossbow. The results show youth big game hunters enjoyed another safe, successful and well-attended season afield.

“Once again, DEC is hearing from families across the state who were thrilled to share their traditions of hunting and wildlife conservation with younger family members,” Seggos said. “DEC’s review of data collected also shows youth hunters followed safety guidelines and showed respect for wildlife and their fellow hunters while afield.

“I’m proud to see that New York’s environment is in good hands with this next generation of environmental stewards.”

Last fall, more than 9,400 12- and 13-year-old hunters, representing nearly 9,200 families, were eligible to hunt deer with a firearm or crossbow and youth hunters submitted more than 1,800 deer harvest reports.

DEC conducted a post-hunting survey that found 82 percent of youth hunters and 87 percent of their adult mentors were moderately or greatly satisfied with their youth big game hunting experience. Additionally, no hunting-related shooting incidents, violations, or license revocations involving 12- and 13-year-old hunters occurred during the first two years of the pilot program.

In 2021, legislation authorized 12- and 13-year-olds to hunt deer with an experienced adult mentor in eligible areas of the state under a three-year pilot program. The law required DEC to analyze results of the pilot program each year and report its findings back to the State Legislature. DEC tracked participation, satisfaction, deer harvest, and safety compliance in the pilot program, and submitted a report to the state Legislature sharing its findings from the 2022/23 hunting season and recommendations for future actions.

Visit DEC’s website for more information on youth hunting opportunities in New York.

By martha

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