November 5, 2013 - Under Governor Cuomo's NY Open for Hunting and Fishing Initiative, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced today that New York's second annual Youth Deer Hunt, held Columbus Day weekend, October 12-14, was enjoyed by thousands of junior hunters, many of whom were successful in taking their first deer.
"The youth deer hunt is an important step in preserving our hunting heritage and provides junior hunters a unique opportunity to spend focused time with an experienced adult mentor as they learn the ropes of firearms deer hunting," said Commissioner Martens. "With plenty of advance notice and good weather, more junior hunters were able to participate this year. There was a lot of enthusiasm among families with eligible junior hunters, and we've been hearing stories from happy hunters."
During the youth deer hunt, junior hunters (ages 14 and 15) with a big game hunting license are eligible to take one deer of either sex with a firearm when properly accompanied by a licensed and experienced adult.
Approximately 18,000 junior hunters were eligible to participate in the 2013 youth deer hunt, and, to date, junior hunters have reported taking approximately 700 deer. DEC anticipates the final harvest estimate for the youth deer hunt will be higher after all reports are in and the harvest is calculated. Last year, during the inaugural youth deer hunt, an estimated 60 percent of eligible junior hunters participated and DEC calculated that they took more than 1,400 deer. A report on the 2012 youth deer hunt (PDF, 661 KB) is available.
Governor Cuomo's NY Open for Hunting and Fishing Initiative is an effort to improve recreational activities for in-state and out-of-state sportsmen and sportswomen and to boost tourism opportunities throughout the state. This initiative includes the streamlining of hunting and fishing licensing and reducing license fees, improved access for fishing at various sites across the state, and increasing hunting opportunities in various regions.
To gauge participation rates during the youth hunt, monitor satisfaction of junior hunters and to identify potential barriers to participation, DEC has distributed a short survey to a random sample of eligible junior hunters. The survey is also an important component of how DEC calculates deer harvest during the youth hunt. All junior hunters that receive the survey are encouraged to complete and return it promptly.
DEC encourages parents to submit a picture to DEC's Big Game Hunting Photo Gallery to showcase the success of junior hunters.