Michigan Youth Hunter Regulations

The opening day of firearm deer season is tomorrow! For many kids around the state, it is an unofficial school holiday. If you are skipping school or pulling your kid out for a day of quality family time in the woods, here are a few reminders to keep everything legal.

 In case any last-minute license buyers are reading this. Here is the type of license your child can hunt with if they have not taken hunter ed. 

Also, please go to an in-person license vendor to get your kill tags immediately. If you buy your license online, the kill tags are mailed and can take 7-10 days which would miss most of the season.

Mentored youth hunting ages 9 and under Link for FAQS on DNR Page

The Mentored Youth Hunting program is designed to introduce youth under the age of 10 to hunting and fishing, offering a “package” license for just $7.50. This enables youth hunters under the age of 10 to hunt turkey (spring and fall on private or public land), deer (one tag, any deer) and small game, trap furbearers and fish for all species. Click here for the regulations on mentored youth hunting.

Apprentice hunting ages 10 and over

Anyone ages 10 and older can be a part of the hunting experience by purchasing a base apprentice (APC) license. The base apprentice license, which can be purchased for two license years before needing to complete a hunter safety course, allows you to hunt small game and purchase licenses to hunt other species like deer and turkey.  

As an apprentice hunter, you must:

  • Be 10 years of age or older.
  • Be accompanied by someone 21 years of age or older who possesses a regular current-year hunting license for the same game you will be hunting.
  • Have the accompanying hunter be your parent, guardian, or someone designated by your parent or guardian if you are 10-16 years of age.

As an accompanying hunter, you must:

  • Be able to come to the immediate aid of the apprentice and stay within a distance that permits uninterrupted, unaided visual and verbal contact.
  • Accompany no more than two apprentice hunters while hunting.

Residents can purchase one of the following apprentice license types:

  • *Base JR APC (ages 10-16) $6.00
  • *Base RES APC (ages 17+) $11.00

If your daughter or son has already completed the Michigan Hunter Education Program, there are still some rules and regulations they need to follow as minors.

  • Youth 10-16 years of age, and who are hunter safety-certified, must be accompanied by an adult 18 years old or older to hunt, unless: 
  1. The youth is hunting on land upon which a parent or guardian is regularly domiciled; AND, the license is not an apprentice license. 
  • Youth hunters 16 and younger are exempt from antler point restrictions during all deer seasons, in all regions and for all deer licenses, which also includes the four-point APR on the restricted tag. A legal buck is a deer with one antler 3 inches or longer. NOTE: If the youth turns 17 during the season (or before it), he or she must follow APRs

More information on all of the hunting rules and regulations can be found in the online digest here. It is also a great idea to download it on your phone so you have access to it.

Finally, if your youth hunter or yourself tag a deer tomorrow or the rest of the season, it is now mandatory for you to report it to the DNR. Using the new DNR App, you can fill out the proper information and upload the data. The app can be found in the Apple or Google Play store and is called-Michigan DNR Hunt Fish.



  1. Asher on November 19, 2022 at 7:20 pm

    Can I go out hunting by myself if I have taken hunters safety and I am 11 years old.

  2. Claire on March 30, 2023 at 12:04 pm

    What are the dates for Youth Hunting for Deer in 2023

    • Shaun Mckeon on April 11, 2023 at 2:19 pm


      The youth hunt dates havent been posted yet for 2023. The dates for Natural Resource Commission is reviewing deer regulations this week at the meeting and usually has the dates posted by June to be printed in the hunting digest. In the past, it is usually the 2nd weekend in September. Last year it was September 10-11. It will most likely be similar this year, but nothing official yet.

  3. Len Strait on September 9, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    Can youth get a doe license along with a buck tag?

  4. Tracy hull on September 10, 2023 at 11:42 am

    my grandson is now 10 & has done an apprenticeship for about 4 years now what are the next steps? he doesn’t have to take a hunter’s safety class all over does he? isn’t that what they point of the apprenticeship was? where can I sign him up to do his shooting and take the written test? I would think that is what he has to do now???? I’ve looked everywhere and it only tells me the steps of an apprenticeship BUT THERE IS NOTHING that explains what a child does after 10 & this weekend was youth hunt and the poor boy is heart broken 🙁 he couldn’t hunt. can someone please help?????

    • Shaun Mckeon on September 12, 2023 at 1:10 pm


      it sounds like your grandsons next step is to take the “field day” portion of hunter safety. Where they take the test and gets hands-on experience. You can find more information on classes available through the DNR hunter safety website. This link will take you to the DNR page. Classes are filling up fast.

  5. TYLER on September 12, 2023 at 12:35 pm

    What’s the ages for youth hunt? All I find is 10-16 years of age but I see posts on MIBUCKPOLE of kids under 10 shooting deer….??

    • Shaun Mckeon on September 12, 2023 at 1:07 pm

      The Mentored Youth Hunting Program allows youth hunters 9 years old and younger to hunt with a mentor who is at least 21 years old, has hunting experience and possesses a valid Michigan hunting license other than an apprentice license. More information on youth hunting information can be found on page 37 of this years hunting digest.


  6. Robert Richmond on September 12, 2023 at 8:13 pm

    So my daughter wants to hunt with me this year. She can’t do youth do to just turning 9 this year. Can she go during regular season with me?

Leave a Comment