New Manitoba program allows youth to hunt game birds at earlier age
MANITOBA is opening up a new youth hunting opportunity beginning this spring that will allow some 10and 11-year-olds to hunt game birds for the first time. As part of an ongoing drive to encourage youth participation in hunting, the Manitoba government is introducing a new regulation that will allow kids of any age to acquire an Apprentice Hunter Education Certificate upon successful completion of the province’s hunter education course. Manitoba resident youth aged 10 and 11 who do so may hunt waterfowl, grouse, wild turkeys and other game birds along with their parents or another licensed adult, with anything they harvest allocated toward the licensed adult’s limit. The minimum hunting age in Manitoba up until now had been 12 — and it remains so for big game and for non-residents — but provincial officials are hoping this new opportunity will provide an incentive for more kids to pursue hunting at a younger age. “We’re looking at it as a very positive thing for hunter recruitment,” said Brian Hagglund, allocations manager with the province’s wildlife and fisheries branch. “Lots of parents have been saying to us that it’s too bad hunting’s not available to younger kids. It’s kind of the formative years, and if they can’t be a legitimate part of the hunt, there are so many other things they could be doing, like playing hockey or football.” Hunters are required to take either Manitoba’s hunter education course, or the one offered in their own home jurisdiction, before being allowed to purchase a hunting licence in Manitoba. For several years, kids of any age have been allowed to take Manitoba’s course, but once they passed, they were required to wait for their 12th birthday to actually be awarded their hunter education certificate, and therefore to be allowed to hunt. Now all youth of any age who complete the program will be awarded an apprentice certificate, and if they’re 10 or 11, they’ll be allowed to use that certificate to hunt birds with a licensed adult, almost like a beginner’s driver’s licence. “They’ll be going out with someone who knows what they’re doing,” Hagglund said, noting the apprentice must stay in a position “where he or she can be readily identified with the person they’re hunting with.” The apprentice hunters must also carry their certificate with them, as well as proof of their age such as a birth certificate. The adult’s licence must be valid for that current season, and although apprentices will not be required to purchase a provincial licence, they would still need to purchase a federal migratory bird stamp to hunt ducks, geese, cranes or woodcock. Apprentices may hunt wild turkeys, grouse, ptarmigan and partridge without the federal stamp.
Hagglund said all hunter education instructors in Manitoba will soon receive a package from the province explaining the specific requirements for the new apprentice designation. The initiative is the latest in a string of youthoriented hunting initiatives in Manitoba, including a youth-rate wild turkey licence, a youth combination deer-game bird licence and Waterfowler Heritage Days, which allows teens to hunt without a licence under the tutelage of a qualified mentor during the first week of September. Manitoba is also looking to introduce a youth-rate resident bear licence this spring, subject to administrative approval.
Thanks to a new program recently implemented by the Manitoba government, youth aged 10 and 11 will now be able to hunt waterfowl, grouse, wild turkeys and other game birds with a licensed adult.