Apprentice hunting license program a boon for already successful youth deer-gun

Two Ohio newspapers are covering the upcoming youth deer-gun season and acknowledging the benefits of the recently-enacted apprentice hunting license program.

Cleveland Plain Dealer Outdoor Writer D'Arcy Egan is reporting that a large deer herd and plenty of large-antlered bucks - combined with a youth deer gun season that has been a big hit - have helped stem a slow slide in the number of Ohio hunters.

From the story:

    As Ohio's deer herd has grown, so has the number of trophy bucks killed by hunters. Southeastern Ohio is still a hot spot for a big buck, but the largest deer are coming from the farm country of southwestern Ohio. This year's most dazzling display of antlers are worn by what is now known as the Amish Buck, killed in Clark County with a crossbow by Amish hunter Jonathon Schmucker of Seamon, Ohio.

    Those trophy deer are attracting hunters from other states, including Pennsylvania, where deer are plentiful but trophy antlers are rare. Non-resident license sales have soared from 10,669 in 1998 to 22,524 last year, despite a non-resident license costing $125, a big jump from the $19 resident tag.

    With young hunters in extremely short supply a decade ago, Ohio wildlife officials created special youth hunting seasons. The youth deer-gun season tops the list. In the past five years, youth hunting license sales have jumped from 33,117 to 41,850. Young hunters killed 8,641 deer during their two-day season last year. More than 15,000 kids are expected to be in the woods for this year's short campaign Nov. 18-19.

    This year, there is a new opportunity. An apprentice license now allows an adult or youngster to purchase their first hunting license without taking a hunter education course. The new hunter must be mentored by a licensed adult.

Egan finishes by noting that the apprentice license is an easy way for people to try a new sport, enjoy the outdoors and, perhaps, spot a trophy buck in the Buckeye woods.

Click on 'Read More' for more on the subject from the Columbus Dispatch.

The Columbus Dispatch's Dave Golowenski notes that the notion of "passing it on" counts a good deal toward why Ohio’s youth deer gun season was established in 2003.

From the Dispatch:

    "The youth deer-gun season continues to grow in popularity," said Dan Huss, wildlife management supervisor for the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s central district, which is based in Columbus. "For many youngsters, this opportunity is the highlight of their hunting season."

    It’s safe to say that it will be the highlight for quite a few dads and moms, uncles, aunts and grandparents. About 15,000 young hunters are expected to participate. Last year, youth hunters tagged 8,641 deer during the two-day season. A total of 5,208 whitetails was downed in the inaugural 2003 hunt.

    A bonus this year is that apprentice hunting licenses are available for the first time. The apprentice license allows a youth or adult to hunt without previously taking a hunter education course when accompanied and supervised closely by a licensed adult. As with the youth hunting seasons, the apprentice license is designed to recruit hunters by knocking down barriers erected in the past.

For details on the deer seasons, check out the 2006-2007 Ohio Hunting Regulations booklet or visit the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Web site at ohiodnr.com/wildlife . Pictures submitted by deer hunters can be posted on the Web site for public viewing.

Related Stories:
Buckeye Firearms Association Endorses HB296, Apprentice Hunting License Bill

Buckeye Firearms Assoc. attends signing ceremony for HB296

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