More than 20,000 youth licenses sold ahead of first statewide youth deer hunting season

A record amount of youth licenses were sold ahead of Minnesota's first statewide youth deer hunt, according to the Minnesota DNR.

The youth deer hunting season took place from October 17 to 20. Ahead of opening day, 21,211 youth licenses were bought, which is a 50 percent increase compared to the same time last year. Since the start of the season, the amount of youth licenses sold has risen to 27,960. Nearly 7,900 of the licenses bought during the youth season were for first-time license holders.

One such youth hunter included a Chisago City 12-year-old girl, who bagged a 12-point buck her first time hunting.

During the youth season, almost 5,700 hunters harvested a deer, which is a 77 percent increase from last year. The 2018 youth deer season, however, was limited to fewer regions. Over the past 15 years, the youth hunting season has expanded to 28 deer permit areas throughout the state. DNR officials say the numbers are encouraging for the future of hunting in the state.

“We know that a number of youth license-buyers won’t be hunting until the regular firearms deer season, but the large increase in harvest reflects the great response to this new opportunity,” said Barbara Keller, big game program leader for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in a press release. “Positive early hunting experiences go a long way toward starting or continuing a rewarding fall tradition.”