Public input sought on new mentored youth hunting law

Kids learn archery at JAKES event.

Kids learn archery at JAKES event.

LAPEER COUNTY — Concerns about safety for youth now able to hunt under the state’s new Mentored Youth Hunting Program has pushed the Dept. of Natural Resources to open up public input until Sept. 15 to further gauge what other aspects of the program need to be addressed.

In July 2011, Gov. Rick Snyder signed Public Acts 109 and 120 into law, which eliminated the minimum hunting ages in Michigan. All youth entering into the new program must be mentored by an adult or guardian over the age of 21 who can demonstrate prior hunting experience including the proper handling of archery equipment and firearms, safety and hunting from treestands safely. The mentored license costs just $7.50.

The Michigan Natural Resouces Commission created a work group that was tasked with developing recommendations for the state’s new Mentored Youth Hunting Program. It now seeks public input on some of the issues under consideration via a short online survey. Four questions posed will answer safety concerns and allow feedback from the public. It’s available at through Sept. 15.

“I strongly encourage sportsmen and women, parents and other interested members of the public to fill out the survey, which only takes about 10 minutes,” said NRC Commissioner John Matonich of Davison in a press release. Matonich chairs the workgroup.

“The workgroup is on a tight timeframe to make recommendations to the NRC so we can be ready to roll out this program for the 2012 hunting season. Public input is invaluable to our recommendation process,” Matonich added.

The new Mentored Youth Hunting Program created opportunities for all young hunters under the age of 10 to participate in Michigan’s hunting seasons in conjunction with the mentored youth hunting program under development by the NRC. The new law also created the Mentored Youth Hunting license, which allows mentored youth to actively participate in a wide variety of hunting opportunities using a single license starting in 2012. Those license holders will be able to hunt deer, turkey, small game, trap fur-bearers and fish for all species.

More information about the Mentored Youth Hunting Program and a direct link to the survey can be found at The workgroup plans to report the public recommendations to the NRC at its November meeting in Lansing.

The four questions include:

• Please tell us what safety features should be considered as this program is developed.

• Are there any special rules or regulations that should be adopted for hunting small game by mentored youth

• Are there any special rules or regulations that should be adopted for hunting turkeys by mentored youth?

• Are there any special rules or regulations that should be adopted for hunting deer by mentored youth?

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