If a child is not exposed to hunting in his childhood, he or she most likely won’t pursue it as an adult. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission aims to making hunting affordable to any youth interested in hunting through its innovative $5 youth permit program.
For just $5, hunters ages 15 and under can buy a turkey or deer permit in Nebraska — regardless of residency. Furthermore, hunters age 11 and younger are not required to complete firearm/bow hunter education, provided that they are accompanied by an adult.
These permits, which were first made available in 2010, along with reduced hunter education requirements for youth hunters, make it easier and more affordable for family members and mentors to introduce kids to Nebraska’s hunting tradition, without going through the hurdle of getting a 10-year-old to sit through an entire day of hunter education. The permits also serve to encourage parents to take their kids with them in the field — for just $5, there isn’t much to lose. This kid-friendly approach was created to spark that first fire in younger hunters that they will hopefully carry into adulthood.
The permits have also made mentored youth hunts more financially feasible for conservation and hunting organizations. This past year, the National Wild Turkey Federation, the Nebraska Conservation Officers Association, and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission sponsored mentored turkey and deer hunts for nearly 20 kids in northeast Nebraska; more than 100 youth annually take part in Game and Parks’ mentored archery hunts. And Outdoor Life magazine cited the $5 youth permit program earlier this year when it named Nebraska one of the top-five youth-friendly hunting states in the nation.
Hunters ages 10- to 15-years-old may apply for up to two youth deer permits at $5 each. Hunters age 11 and younger are not required to complete firearm/bow hunter education, but all youth deer hunters age 15 and under must be accompanied by a licensed adult age 19 and older. Youth deer permits are valid during any open season until the tag is filled.
There is no minimum age for turkey hunters. A spring youth turkey permit allows for one male turkey or bearded hen, while a fall youth turkey permit allows for two turkeys of either sex. Up to 3 youth turkey tags can be purchased per hunter in the spring and 2 tags in the fall. All turkey hunters under age 12 must be accompanied by a licensed adult.
Public hunting lands are available through the Open Fields and Waters Program, Commission Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs), and the Passing Along the Heritage Program (PATH). For more information on youth permits, hunting regulations and where to hunt, please visit outdoornebraska.ne.gov/5bucks to take advantage of this opportunity.