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