ST. PAUL-Nearly 5,000 young hunters 10 to 15 years old will take to the fields and forests this weekend during Minnesota's youth deer season, the Department of Natural Resources said.

The DNR offers the annual hunting opportunity to help develop Minnesota's next generation of hunters.

"Traditionally most hunters have learned how to hunt from a parent, relative or someone they know well," said James Burnham, angler and hunter recruitment, retention and reactivation (R3) coordinator for the DNR. "Those folks who take time to pass on their hunting knowledge and traditions really deserve a high five because they are carrying on the strong hunting tradition in our state."

Minnesota's youth deer season began in 2004 in northwest Minnesota and since has expanded to encompass new areas. The youth season's 28 permit areas now include parts of southeast and northwest Minnesota, and a Twin Cities metro permit area.

The season is timed during the weekend when many students are off from school because of teacher workshops, this year from Thursday, Oct. 18, to Sunday, Oct. 21.

"This weekend may be the first time many youth throw on hunting clothes, learn how to spot a flick of a tail in the woods, or feel what it's like to take home venison they harvested themselves," Burnham said.

Hunters age 10 through 15 must obtain a firearms deer license, and 12- to 15-year-old hunters must have completed firearms safety or obtain an apprentice hunter validation if they haven't completed firearms training.

A parent, guardian or mentor age 18 or older must accompany the young hunter and only needs a license if the youth is taking advantage of the apprentice validation option. Party hunting on a youth license is not allowed; young hunters must shoot and tag their own deer.

More information about the youth deer season can be found on page 35 of the 2018 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook or online at