Youth free hunting days are returning to Indiana, offering exciting opportunities for young hunters to embrace the state's rich hunting traditions. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has announced that these special days will be held on September 2-3 and November 25-26. These carefully chosen dates align with key hunting seasons in the state, making it an ideal time for young hunters to participate.

Hunters Age 17 and Under

The first set of youth free hunting days, in early September, coincides with the opening of dove and squirrel seasons, typically starting right after September 1. This is followed by the weekend after Thanksgiving when deer, rabbit, squirrel, and other gamebird and furbearer seasons are open. During these designated free youth hunting days, Indiana residents aged 17 or younger have the opportunity to hunt any legal game in season.

Any resident age 17 or younger on the date of the hunt can take any legal game in season during these youth free hunting days. To participate, the youth must be accompanied by an adult who is at least 18 years of age. The youth’s adult partner must be in close enough proximity to monitor and be able to communicate with the youth hunter at all times. The adult may help the youth hunter with calling game but may not carry a firearm, crossbow, or bow and arrow, except for a handgun carried lawfully. The adult must possess a valid hunting license unless exempt from needing a license. During the free youth hunting days, a hunting license, state migratory waterfowl stamp, or Harvest Information Program (HIP) number is not required to hunt waterfowl or other migratory birds for resident youth hunting or nonresident youth. All persons 16 years or older must possess a federal duck stamp.

An Adult Must Be Present

To take part in these exciting days, young hunters must be accompanied by an adult who is at least 18 years old. The adult must possess a valid hunting license unless exempt. While accompanying the youth hunter, the adult can provide guidance in calling game but cannot carry a firearm or weapon, except for individuals licensed to carry a handgun.

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Deer Season Dates

One additional highlight is the youth deer season, which occurs on September 23-24. During this season, youth hunters can harvest one buck and one or more doe, depending on the county they are hunting in. To participate, youth hunters are required to have a valid deer hunting license, ensuring that the hunt is conducted within the regulations set by the Indiana DNR.

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Great Bonding Experience

These youth free hunting days in Indiana not only provide valuable learning experiences for young hunters but also help preserve the state's hunting heritage. It's a wonderful opportunity for families to bond in the great outdoors while teaching the next generation about responsible hunting practices. Don't miss these exciting chances for young Hoosiers to connect with nature and create lasting memories.

[Source: Indiana DNR]

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