Michigan Youth Hunt Program Update

In recent weeks we have received many calls and e-mails wondering when they will be able to hunt with their kids or grand-kids under 10 since Gov. Rick Snyder signed the Mentored Youth Hunting Program into law.

Unfortunately, the answer is: not yet.

As much as we would have loved to strap our youngest kids in camo from head to toe and get them into the woods the second Gov. Snyder’s pen hit the paper, the reality is the Mentored Youth Hunting bills do not allow for this.

To try to put it as simply as possible, the Mentored Youth Hunting bills did not create the Mentored Youth Hunt Program. Instead, they formed the basic framework for the program by setting the cost and directing the Michigan Natural Resources Commission (NRC) to undertake the job of creating the actual program.

At its regular meeting on Thursday, August 11, 2011, the NRC took a big step in that direction by naming a six-member work group (including MUCC’s own Youth Camp Manager Liz Roxberry). The work group also has representation from a number of youth hunters.

According to the NRC’s press release on the topic, “the committee is charged with recommending specific rules that may be necessary to participate in mentored youth hunting, developing program evaluation and evaluating the effectiveness of current youth hunting opportunities. The committee also will develop an informal survey designed to collect public input on its charges and other topics related to youth hunting.”

NRC Chairman Tim Nichols laid out his time frame by asking that the work group report to the NRC’s Time Committee in November, 2011, and then bring their recommendations before the whole committee at its December, 2011 meeting.  It is assumed that the NRC will then decide yes or no on the recommendations from the work group, and from there take a vote on the official program.

While it appears that the fall 2011 season will be out of the mix, it increasing looks like spring of 2012 will be the target start date.

For some, this is too long of a wait and a complete waste of time. However, let’s not forget that there are many people and groups with different agendas waiting to pounce should this program fail.

It would serve our heritage and our youth well to put in some extra time and leg work to be sure that when implemented the Michigan Youth Hunt Program is safe and effective at getting youth into the outdoors.

And, for those lucky kids 10 (or 12 when using a firearm for deer on private lands, 14 for public lands) and up, there are still some special opportunities this year:

  • Youth Waterfowl Hunt: Sept 17-18
  • Youth Early Antlerless Firearm Season: Sept 20-23
  • Youth and 100% Disabled Veterans Hunt: Sept 24-25
image_print
  • pikefisher

    I still DON”T like the idea of babies in the woods ! Some young children are able to handle the teachings and again some can’t.And until we have some fool letting the baby shoot someone or themselves without supervision,the public and the Anti-Gunners will run with this and use it against all of us.I’ve seen adult hunters that I wouldn’t dare hunt with for saftey reasons little lone their kids .Lets use our God given brain and prevent this before it effects “all” of our hunting rights that we have left,we don’t need anymore neg.reports for the Anti’s to run with.Set an age limit that is reasonable(say 10-12 ? ) but not let babies out there with the firearms to ruin it for the rest of what’s left for us hunters and future hunters.Former DNR Hunter Saftey Instructor and Grandparent Scott Rice.

    • yooper62

      “but not let babies out there with the firearms to ruin it for the rest of what’s left for us hunters”…??? My boys were ready to sit along side of me and hunt when they were 8 years old. They couldn’t legally do it in Michigan and luckily we had friends in states that allowed for kids to hunt at any age. It cost us little of nothing to hunt other states this way.

      I have coached baseball from many years and have seen the decline of kids that are willing to go out and do things away from the computer and video games. If we don’t get kids involved at a young age we will lose many of them… each year that I coached there were fewer and fewer kids that wanted to come and play because they could sit at home and play baseball at their TV. We gotta get them involved early or lose them.

      Babies in the woods???? No one is saying to put babies in the woods without someone along side of them. Each child is different and ready at a different age. I look forward to giving up of my hunting to have my grandkids sit with me and teach them how to hunt safely and to teach them the value of a good hunt.

      I think that this program will allow us to keep kids in hunting instead of losing them to other things. This isn’t about the adults… it is about the kids and keeping them in hunting!

  • pikefisher

    I still DON”T like the idea of babies in the woods ! Some young children are able to handle the teachings and again some can’t.And until we have some fool letting the baby shoot someone or themselves without supervision,the public and the Anti-Gunners will run with this and use it against all of us.I’ve seen adult hunters that I wouldn’t dare hunt with for saftey reasons little lone their kids .Lets use our God given brain and prevent this before it effects “all” of our hunting rights that we have left,we don’t need anymore neg.reports for the Anti’s to run with.Set an age limit that is reasonable(say 10-12 ? ) but not let babies out there with the firearms to ruin it for the rest of what’s left for us hunters and future hunters.Former DNR Hunter Saftey Instructor and Grandparent Scott Rice.

  • RLM

    Excellent program, looking forward to implementation. Everyone needs to remember this is NOT about sending babies alone out in the woods with guns. This is about mentoring our youth in a very controlled environment about the responsibilities and joys of hunting when we as parents and or guardians believe our kids or mentor candidates are ready. This does NOT take place of Hunters Safety actually Hunters Safety as we know it will still be required as today before one can hunt alone. We do not need government or anyone else for that matter telling us when we are ready to experience hunting. There is very good data available from 30 other states in the union that currently have adopted similar regulations as this. This data shows less injuries per population of hunters and better recruitment in states with less restrictions. Check it out for yourselves by typing in Families Afield the facts are available and very satisfying. Participation is the best way to learn. That is what this legislation is about and this participation will need to be in a very controlled atmosphere. As far as dead beat adults or people that shouldn’t be trusted in the woods at any age — why penalize the entire population because of the actions of very few?

  • Anonymous

    yooper62 commented “I have coached baseball from many years and have seen the decline of kids that are willing to go out and do things away from the computer and video games. If we don’t get kids involved at a young age we will lose many of them… each year that I coached there were fewer and fewer kids that wanted to come and play because they could sit at home and play baseball at their TV. We gotta get them involved early or lose them.”
    If early participation will get the kids away from video games and out doing the activities, why has participation in High School Sports continued to drop in spite of Tee Ball, Little League, and youth football, basket ball and soccer leagues?
    I have taught hunter education for 8 years and have had 8-year olds in my classes. I have yet to have one that could hold a gun, let alone fire it; and their attention span to anything is practically non-existant.
    My children began hunting as soon as they could walk, but they did not carry a gun or bow until they were of legal age. It is the time spent with a parent, grandparent, other relative or friend that develops an interest and a desire to participate in the sport of hunting, not the opportunity to kill something. Of course, when you take a young person hunting with you, you have to be willing to accept the fact that you may not see or get close enough to game to harvest it yourself, you may have to just enjoy the experience yourself.

  • Pingback: Michigan Youth Mentored Hunt Questions Answered | Thinking Afield()

  • Pingback: Michigan United Conservation Clubs » Pheasant Hunting’s Future()

  • Pingback: MichiganOutofDoors.com » Pheasant Hunting’s Future()