Youth and women who want to learn how to hunt upland birds from an experienced hunter can do so Saturday, Oct. 20, at a variety of Minnesota locations.

Co-sponsored by Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, hunt participants are paired with mentors from Pheasants Forever, Woodcock Minnesota and the Ruffed Grouse Society. After discussing safety, habitat, ethics, scouting for places to hunt and securing landowner permission when necessary, mentors take participants to the field for a hunt.

“These opportunities are for those who have a desire to hunt but don’t have a mentor to teach them,” said Mike Kurre, DNR mentoring program coordinator. “Participants learn hunting techniques, safety measures, and how wildlife habitat plays a big part in upland bird management and hunter success.”

Parents and guardians must accompany youth at all times and at all events.

To participate in the lottery, youth must be 12-17 years old as of Oct. 20; have earned a valid firearms safety certificate; possess a small game license; and have a parent, guardian or adult authorized by a parent or guardian accompany them as a non-firearms carrying mentor to join the youth at a pre-hunt orientation as well as the hunt.

Free small game licenses are available to a youth younger than 16 at any licensing agent. Reduced-fee licenses also are available for youth 16 and 17.

Women 18 and older do not need a parent or guardian to accompany them but will need a valid firearms safety certificate or an apprentice hunter validation certification, pheasant stamp (if pheasant hunting) and small game license.

All applicants must specify in which county or area they want to hunt, if they are willing to travel farther if their choice of area is not available and how far they are willing to travel. Some hunts may occur on Sunday, Oct. 21.

Applications are due Monday, Sept. 10. They are available online at or  by contacting the DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367. Successful applicants will be notified via mail or email by the end of September.

The winner’s notice will contain specific information about hunting license requirements, equipment and contact information of the hunt coordinator. Youth and women winners must contact their hunt coordinator after receiving their notice.

Landowners with pheasant or grouse-producing property interested in allowing youth or novice women to hunt on their land can help out by contacting Pheasants Forever’s Eran Sandquist at 763-242-1273.

Logo courtesy of Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

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