Starting with this year's licensing season, children under the age of 10 will be allowed to hunt and fish while in the company of an adult at least 21 years of age.
The $7.50 Mentored Youth Hunting license will be a package to include small game, spring and fall turkey, two deer tags-any deer-, a furbearer trapping permit and an all-species fishing license.
Youth hunters must hunt within arms length of their mentor. In other words, in very close proximity. And the mentor is responsible for all that goes on during the hunt, including safety and proper gun handling.
The question, is 10 and under too young to handle firearms, will have to be answered by parents or mentors. It will be up to those people to judge whether a particular child is mature enough to be trusted on a hunt.
Taking a youngster out to hunt carries with it a lot of serious responsibility on the part of the mentor if this program is to be successful.
And what about those adult hunters who already feel the woods and fields are too crowded with "special seasons" for young hunters? They will have to be convinced that this is a good thing and worthy of at least a trial basis.