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Tenth annual youth deer-gun season is this weekend

Ohio youth hunters will participate in the state’s 10th annual youth white-tailed deer hunting season this month, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. This year’s deer-gun youth hunting season is Saturday and Sunday.

Ohio youth hunters killed 8,867 deer in 2011 and at least 8,300 deer in the two-day season every year since 2005. Youth hunters killed 422 more deer in 2011 compared to 2010.

“When we first started youth hunting seasons, we focused on what we could do to make hunting easier and more enjoyable for kids. We wanted to expand their opportunities,” said Vicki Mountz, information and education executive administrator with the ODNR Division of Wildlife. “Youth hunting seasons have been very successful, and we are happy to see kids get out there and enjoy that time.”

The youth deer-gun season is open statewide to hunters holding a valid youth hunting license and youth deer permit. Plugged shotguns using slugs, muzzleloaders .38 caliber and larger, handguns .357 caliber or larger and bows are legal. All participants must wear hunter orange, possess a valid Ohio youth hunting license and a youth deer permit and must be accompanied in the field by a non-hunting adult.

Youth hunters can commemorate their achievement with a First Harvest certificate, available at www.wildohio.com. Parents can upload a photo and type in the hunter’s information to personalize the certificate. Hunters can also share photos by clicking on the Photo Gallery tab online.

All other regularly scheduled hunting seasons will continue during the two-day youth season. All hunters, including deer-archery hunters, are required to wear hunter orange during this time. More information can be found in the 2012-13 Ohio Hunting and Trapping Regulations and at www.wildohio.com.

Hunting licenses are no longer printed on weatherproof paper. Protect licenses and permits from the elements by carrying them in a protective pouch or wallet.

Youth hunters can donate venison to the needy for free. ODNR Division of Wildlife is collaborating with Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry (FHFH) to help pay for the processing of donated venison. All hunters who donate their deer to a food bank are not required to pay the processing cost as long as funding for the effort lasts. More information about this program can be found at www.fhfh.org.

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