Members of the Pennsylvania Game Commission Board of Commissioners have revised their proposal to limit mentored youth hunting to children age 9 and older.
Since 2006, youth hunters accompanied by a mentor 21 or older have been able to apply for deer, turkey, squirrel and coyote hunting licenses. The lack of an age limit allowed hunters as young as four years old to harvest deer and turkeys. Some hunters believed that animals harvested by four-year-old hunters were more likely harvested by their mentors.
To address these concerns, a proposal to limit the age of mentored youths to age nine and older was on the table at the Jan. 25-27 meeting of the board of commissioners. Game Commission spokesman Travis Lau stated that,
There was a lot of opposition to that proposal expressed before and at the meeting, but one of the reasons the commissioners were talking about the issue was to address concerns over deer and turkey harvests by the youngest among mentored youth.
The revised proposal requires youth hunters to be a minimum of seven years old to receive their own deer and turkey tags. Hunters younger than seven can still participate in the mentored youth hunt, but must use their mentors tags. Lau stated,
By requiring tags to be transferred to the youngest participants, the board is addressing [hunters’ concerns] while preserving each and every opportunity for all participants in the program.
The commissioners will vote on the new proposal at the April 9-10 meeting. If it passes, the new rules will go into affect for the 2015-16 hunting season.