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Outdoor adventures: Time to pass the baton

Published: Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013 1:28 a.m. CDT

Man, am I pumped up for this weekend. If you don’t remember from last week, I shot a little bit in there about this weekend being the Illinois Youth Deer season.

Yep, right now young hunters across the great state of Illinois are afield learning how to be outdoorsmen and women. I myself am with my beautiful daughter, Taya, and am really hoping to see her harvest her first deer – with one quick, clean, humane shot.

I guess you’ll just have to stay tuned til next weekend to see how that all played out, but you can count on one thing: We are having a blast.

Now if you’re going to hunt the youth season, here are some things to remember.

First, let’s start with the most important change to the season. No longer is this just a 2-day gig. No, no, no, my friends. This year’s season has been extended to 3 days for the first time in its history. With Monday being Columbus Day, youths can spend an extra day in the woods chasing down that elusive whitetail they’re after.

Second, all youths must have an Illinois hunting license or an Illinois apprentice hunting license. They also must possess an Illinois youth deer season permit or tag. Now, for them to possess any of this, your youth must have completed an Illinois hunter safety course.  

Next, hours for the 3-day hunt are a half-hour before sunrise until a half-hour after sunset. Please encourage your young hunters to take good clean shots at deer in the very early and late hours of the day. It is easy for a young hunter to just point and shoot at a shadowy target. If they cannot clearly see an animal, tell them to pass on the shot.

As usual, your youth and the accompanying hunter must have 400 square inches of blaze orange on there person. A vest and hat will usually suffice, but make sure you have enough, and that it is being worn.

If and when your young stud of a hunter bags that deer and the excitement has subsided a touch, remember that you need to check in that bad boy. You can do so online at dnrillinois.gov/vcheck. Or you may do so by phone at 1-866-ILCHECK. In both cases, you will be given a number to write on the tag to make your hunter’s harvest all legal-like.

I wish you all a great weekend in the outdoors here in the Rock River valley. I can remember the night before hunts as a kid, and I remember all too well the lack of sleep and incredible anticipation that comes with it. So I wish all the youths a bunch of success, and hope they are all safe.

Until next weekend ...

Go Catfish!

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