Reach OutofDoors is written by Shaun McKeon, MUCC Education Manager and Director of Michigan OutofDoors Youth Camp 
The youth kick off firearm deer season this weekend!
After spending the summer at camp working with youth teaching them what it means to be a Youth and Rifle Rangeresponsible and ethical hunter and helping them with their shooting skills. After being part of the high-five celebration line for 173 campers who passed their hunters safety certification, this is an exciting weekend for me as a teacher and camp director.
This weekend, September 20th and 21st is the time for the youth to get out in the woods and have their turn to experience what so many of us love to do. The Michigan youth deer hunt will take place this weekend.  This two day window provides the opportunity for youth to start taking part in Michigan’s heritage and provides a great chance for some of the first harvests of the season.  I have heard from several campers who purchased their license shortly after completing their hunter education course and are now ready for their first chance to take a deer.
The youth hunting weekend is combined with the Liberty hunt designed to allow persons with disabilities the opportunity to get into the woods.  Here are few regulations to keep in mind for this weekend from the DNR, “this firearm deer hunt will take place on all lands in Michigan September 20-21, 2014. Veterans with disabilities and individuals with disabilities who qualify, along with youth ages 16 and younger may participate in this hunt. During this two-day hunt, a deer or deer combo license may be used for an antlered or antlerless deer. Antler Point Restrictions do not apply. A Deer Management Assistance (DMA) permit may also be used to take one antlerless deer only, if issued for the area/land upon which hunting. The bag limit for this season is one deer. All hunters participating in this season must wear hunter orange.
photo 4 (11) (1)This first weekend of deer season is an exciting time and is a great opportunity for parents to pass on the tradition of hunting by getting their kids out in the woods.  At camp we talk about how taking a hunter education course is an important first step, but it is only part of the process.  Becoming safe and responsible with a firearm is another step.  Purchasing a license and supporting conservation is the next step and now that the youth have had a chance to complete these steps they are rewarded with the opportunity to head out into the woods with an adult to connect with nature on a new level and hopefully harvest their first deer.
Michigan is home to a vast array of natural resources and the youth hunt weekend is a fantastic way to expose youth to the outdoors and get them hooked for life.  Many of the kids dream about this weekend as much as we all dream about October 1st or November 15th.  This hunt is a fantastic opportunity and I wish all of the young hunters hitting the woods this weekend the best of luck!

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