As of daylight Thursday morning, October 18, youth hunters all across Montana will be able to shoot game without competition from older hunters. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokeswoman Vivaca Crowser explains.

“The youth deer hunt opens Thursday and Friday just ahead of the general rifle season opener on Saturday,” Crowser said. “There are people all across the state right now traveling to their hunting spots and getting ready to go. We have just a few quick reminders for youth hunters. The youth hunt is for deer only. We don’t want anybody to get confused out there and go elk hunting. Of course once Saturday rolls around, deer and elk season is open for everybody.”

Traditionally the youth hunt was only available for those between the ages of 12 and 15, but those that have the newer apprentice hunter licenses can also participate even if they are younger than 12.

“The Apprentice Hunter Program was passed by the 2015 legislature and so this is our fourth season offering the apprentice program,” Crowser said. “It allows anyone ten or older and adults can also participate. The first couple of seasons it hung around 4,000 people each season that participated and last year we had about 4,600.”

Apprentice hunters and their mentors are required to go to the FWP offices to fill out paperwork for Apprentice hunting. An apprentice hunter tag costing $5.00 is required on top of a normal game tag.