Boys pheasant hunt
Statewide

Hunting Opportunities for Youth

Mentored Youth Hunter Program allows youth 9 through 15 years of age to hunt without first passing an approved hunter education program. It gives unlicensed youngsters the opportunity to receive mentored, one-on-one field experience and training on the ethics, safety, responsibility and enjoyment of hunting while closely supervised by a licensed adult.

Youth “First Time” Program guarantees big game hunting opportunities for youth. Under the program young hunters can receive up to three tags: one buck deer (100 series), one antlerless deer (600 series) and one antlerless elk (200 series).

Youth-only hunts for big game, upland bird and waterfowl give young hunters a safe, well-supervised and low-stress setting where they can enjoy hunting while learning some fundamental skills.

Mentored Youth Hunter Program

The time shared between a youngster and mentor is invaluable. There simply is no better way to introduce a young person to safe, ethical and responsible hunting than with the close supervision of an adult mentor. That is precisely what the Mentored Youth Hunter Program is designed to encourage.

As an incentive to participate in the mentored youth hunting program, youth will receive one mentored youth preference point for each year they register for the program. Once the department receives the youth’s registration form, if the youth does not have a hunter identification number, a number will be assigned and a mentored youth preference point updated in the system.

Carter Todd with his first elk. –Photo by Chris Todd–

For Youth Participants

A youth may participate in the mentored youth hunter program, without first passing an approved hunter education program, provided the youth:

  • Is 9 through 15 years old. From age 16 through 17, a youth must pass an approved hunter education program and possess his or her own license and/or tags.
  • Hunts while accompanied by a supervising hunter who is 21 years or older and who has a valid license and tag(s) for the dates, area and species being hunted.
  • Registers annually and has in possession proof of registration when hunting.
  • Reviews and understands ODFW material on safe hunting practices.  
  • Follows all regulations regarding hunting in the given wildlife management unit, management area or location.
  • Remains under the immediate control of the supervising hunter at all times he or she is holding a weapon.

For Supervising Hunters

The supervising hunter shall:

  • Have a valid hunting license and tag(s) valid for the dates, area and species being hunted.
  • Maintain immediate control of the youth hunter at all times he or she is holding a weapon.
  • Ensure that all Oregon hunting regulations are followed.
  • Supervise only one mentored youth hunter at any given time while hunting.
  • Review information on safe hunting practices provided by the department with the youth.

The supervising hunter and the mentored youth hunter shall not collectively possess more than one weapon legal for the hunt at any given time while hunting.

Austin’s deer -Photo by Jason Bader-

Seasons and Bag Limits

Any wildlife harvested by the mentored youth hunter shall be counted towards the supervising hunter’s bag limit. A youth is not eligible to participate in the mentored youth hunting program if the youth possesses their own valid hunting license and/or tag(s) valid for the dates, area and species being hunted. The mentored youth hunting program is not applicable to designated youth-only seasons and hunts.

Youth “First Time” Program

To qualify for the “First Time” program:

  • A youth must be a resident of Oregon and 12 to 17 years old at the time of the hunt.
  • They must have applied, and been unsuccessful, in the Controlled Hunt Drawing for a hunt in series 100, 200 or 600 that year.
  • They must have never drawn a controlled hunt for that respective series.

To receive one of the First Time hunts, apply beginning July 1. The hunt must be applied for and the tag purchased before the first day of the hunting season.

Not all hunts are included in the program. Each hunt must meet a minimum tag allocation to be available to “first time” hunters.

Hunt Series

Min. Tag Level

Buck deer (100 series) at least 201 tags
Elk (200 series - antlerless only) at least 51 tags
Antlerless deer (600 series) at least 51 tags

Keep in mind that:

Dylan Potter with a buck he took during a mentored youth hunt
Dylan Potter with a buck he took during a mentored youth hunt

  • Youth that apply for a Point Saver in the same year are not eligible for a First Time Youth tag for that hunt series.
  • A youth loses eligibility for a “First Time” tag in a hunt series once they are successful for any hunt choice in that series (including youth hunts and LOP tags), except for leftover tags.
  • Preference points will not be lost if participating in the “First Time” program.
  • Youth can use their “First Time” options in any combination (all in one year, one per year, skip years between tags).
  • “First Time” tags are not extra tags. Youth are still limited to the maximum number of tags per species (series) per year. For example, a youth can possess only one controlled buck deer tag or one general rifle deer tag or one general bow deer tag and one leftover tag, if available.
  • Other hunters with appropriate tags may hunt with youth.
  • Youths participating in the “First Time” program are not eligible to participate in the Mentored Youth Hunter Program for that particular hunt for that year.

2017 Youth "First Time" Hunt Application (pdf)
2017 Qualified First Time Youth Tags (pdf)

Youth Only Hunts and Seasons

Big Game

Elk
ODFW offers youth controlled elk hunts with longer seasons (Aug. 1-Dec. 31). To apply, hunters must:

  • Be 12-17 years old at the time of the hunt.
  • Have completed a hunter safety class by the time they hunt.
  • Have a hunting license, if 12 or older.

The application deadline is May 15. For more information about the hunts available and how to apply, see this year’s Oregon Big Game Regulations.

Visit e-regulations

First buck -photo by Trent Hill

Deer
Youth hunters with an unfilled Western Oregon general season deer tag, an unfilled W. High Cascade (119A), or an unfilled Hood-White River (141A) controlled hunt tag may hunt the area of the Western Oregon general deer season the Saturday and Sunday after general rifle deer season ends. The bag limit is one buck having not less than a forked antler. This opportunity is not available to Mentored Youth Hunt Program participants as each youth hunter must have their own tag to participate. 

To apply for this program hunters must:

  • Be 12-17 years old at the time of the hunt.
  • Have completed a hunter safety class by the time they hunt.
  • Have a hunting license, if 12 or older.

The application deadline is May 15. For more information about the hunts available and how to apply, see this year’s Oregon Big Game Regulations

Visit e-regulations

Game Birds

Upland Bird
Youth pheasant hunts are held on private lands and state wildlife areas throughout the state each September. Participants in these hunts must:

  • Be 17 or younger and accompanied by a non-hunting adult who is at least 21 years old.
  • Have a valid Hunter Education Certificate.
  • Have a valid hunting license, if 12 or older, with an upland game bird validation, and a permit for the hunt area, if required.
  • Wear a blaze orange hat and vest, and shooting glasses or other eye protection. Adults accompanying you must also wear these same items.

For more information about the hunts available and how to make a reservation, see this year’s Oregon Game Bird Regulations.

Visit e-regulations

12-year-old Hunter Paustian with turkeys taken with a compound bow

Spring Youth Turkey Hunt
Every year on the weekend before the opening of the General Spring Turkey Season, hunters 17 years and younger will have the field to themselves for a youth-only turkey season. No special registration or application is required to participate in this hunt, but youth hunters must:

  • Be 17 or younger and accompanied by a non-hunting adult who is at least 21 years old.
  • Have a valid hunting license, if 12 or older, and a spring turkey tag.
  • Not be enrolled in the Mentored Youth Hunt Program.

Waterfowl
Youth waterfowl hunts are held at several wildlife areas and federal refuges each fall/winter. In addition, there is a statewide waterfowl season in late September. To participate in these hunts, youth must:

  • Be 17 or younger and accompanied by a non-hunting adult who is at least 21 years old.
  • Have a valid Hunter Education Certificate.
  • Have a valid hunting license, if 12 or older, with a migratory HIP validation, and a permit for the hunt area, if required.
  • A federal waterfowl stamp if 16 years or older.

For more information about the hunts available and how to make reservation, see this year’s Oregon Game Bird Regulations.

Visit e-regulations

Youth Licenses

Youth License

includes fishing, hunting, shellfish, and Columbia River Basin Endorsement
Resident/nonresident $10

Youth Sports Pac 

includes a Combination fishing/hunting/shellfish license, a Combined Angling Harvest Tag; Spring Turkey Tag, General Cougar Tag, General or Controlled Bear Tag, General or Controlled Elk Tag, and General or Controlled Deer Tag ; and Validation for Upland Birds and Waterfowl (available after July 1)
Resident $55
Nonresident N/A

Deer, elk, and bear tags are not automatically issued at the time a Sports Pac License is issued. Hunters must remember to pick up deer, elk and bear tags by the day before the earliest hunt opens for deer, elk and controlled bear and by Sept. 30 for general bear.

Hunter Orange

Hunters age 17 and under must wear a hunter orange exterior garment (shirt, jacket, coat, vest, or sweater) or hat when hunting game mammals or upland birds (except turkey) with any firearm. The exterior garment or hat must have hunter orange visible in all directions (360 degrees).

Hunter Education

Youth 17 and younger must pass a hunter education course before hunting in Oregon, unless enrolled in the Mentored Youth Program. Students have three options: an online course, an independent study workbook course, or in-person attendance at a class taught through ODFW’s statewide network of 600 volunteer instructors. Online and independent study students must pass a field day with a hunter education instructor before being certified.

Learn more about taking a Hunter Education class.

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