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The hunt is on

Area youth take part in early deer season

When the State of Michigan introduced the fall youth hunt, also known as the Liberty Hunt, it was done to expose children and teens to the sport of deer hunting hoping it would morph into a life long recreational activity.

The hunt is taking place this weekend and it is expected the hunters who are 16 years or younger, will bag some nice deer.

Now, entering it’s seventh year, those hopes seem to becoming a reality, as officials from the Department of Natural Resources claim that youth who participated in the hunt during its early years, are now adults and purchasing license and hunting.

According to DNR Lieutenant Jim Gorno, out of the Gaylord office, the bulk of the hunters in Michigan range in age from 40 to 60 years old, but many hunters older than that have chosen not to hunt or are unable to. He said despite that, the sale of white tail deer license has stayed level, while he believes equates to the next generation of hunter buying licenses and spending time in the woods. There has also been an increase in the amount of girls and women who are hunting, Gorno said.

“The hunt has been a great thing. Not only do the kids get out and learn about hunting and have an opportunity to get a deer while it is a little warmer and more comfortable out, but also spend time with their parents, family or friends outdoors, he said. “I believe the program has been a great success.”

The state, like other government bodies, count on license sales to produce revenue that is then used to reinvest. The proceeds from the sale of hunting license remains in the state and helps to improve the natural resources of it, Gorno said.

“We use the money to make a lot of wildlife habitat improvements and promote hunting,” he said. “Very little of that goes toward enforcement.

Gorno said the early hunting season produces a good blend of bucks and does and in is opinion doesn’t have a bearing on the amount of deer taken in the later bow and rifle seasons. He said no matter when a deer is harvested, it is important to take it to a local DNR deer check station, so it can be examined.

“We get a lots of information on the does and bucks and it tells us more about the health of the herd and the population,” Gorno said. “It also tells us what the growth rates are and helps with our wildlife management projects.”

Kids aren’t the only ones who are able to hunt during the Liberty Hunt, Gorno said. Veterans and individuals who have been determined to be 100% disabled are also allowed to hunt the early season.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached at 989-358-5689 at sschulwitz@thealpenanews.com. Follow him on Twitter @ss_alpenanews.com.