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For Release: Thursday, October 2, 2014

DEC Announces Third Annual Youth Deer Hunt Columbus Day Weekend

More than 15,000 Eligible Junior Hunters Anticipated to Participate

After the resounding success of the first two annual youth deer hunts, New York's third annual Youth Deer Hunt will take place in upstate New York over the Columbus Day weekend (October 11-13), State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today.

"The youth deer hunt is a program under Governor Cuomo's NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative to continue efforts to engage more young people in nature and outdoor recreation and the sport of hunting," said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. "I encourage seasoned hunters to take these days to serve as a mentor to younger generations and teach them about the many benefits of New York's hunting opportunities and resources."

During this hunt, 14- and 15-year old junior hunters may take a deer of either sex with a firearm when accompanied by a licensed and experienced adult mentor. Rules for 14-15 year old junior hunters and their mentors including proper licenses and blaze orange requirements also apply during the youth deer hunt.

New York's first Youth Deer Hunts in 2012 and 2013 were a positive experience for thousands of young hunters and provided great opportunities for families to celebrate their hunting heritage and build a new generation of deer hunters and wildlife enthusiasts.

Approximately 15,000 to 20,000 eligible junior hunters are expected to participate in the 2014 youth deer hunt. In the past two years, an estimated 60 percent of eligible junior hunters participated and DEC estimated that they took more than 1,400 deer.

In areas restricted to bowhunting only (Westchester County and parts of Albany and Monroe counties), junior hunters may only use bowhunting equipment to take deer during the youth hunt weekend.

"Bowhunting seasons remain open during the youth hunt, but I encourage bowhunters to set your bow aside for the weekend and be a mentor for a youth's first firearms deer hunt," Commissioner Martens stated.

More details of the Youth Firearms Deer Hunt and Junior Hunter Mentoring Program for junior hunters and their mentors are available at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/46245.html on DEC's website. DEC also offers special opportunities for junior hunters (ages 12-15) for waterfowl, wild turkey, and pheasants. See DEC's website for information about Opportunities for Junior Hunters and Trappers.

In support of the NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative, this year's budget includes $6 million in NY Works funding to support creating 50 new land and water access projects to connect hunters, anglers, bird watchers and others who enjoy the outdoors to more than 380,000 acres of existing state and easement lands that have not reached their full potential. These 50 new access projects include building new boat launches, installing new hunting blinds and building new trails and parking areas. In addition, the 2014-15 budget includes $4 million to repair the state's fish hatcheries; and renews and allows expanded use of crossbows for hunting in New York State.

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