There's great news for Virginia hunters aged 15 and younger: they get to go deer hunting a little early this year. A month-and-a-half early as a matter of fact; youth will be allowed to hunt deer with firearms on September 26 this year, when Virginia has its first Youth Deer Hunting Day. Firearms season doesn't start for the rest of us until November 14.
This is probably the best thing I've ever heard of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries doing. In a state, er commonwealth, that doesn't allow Sunday hunting, the deck is really stacked against youth and the people who want to teach them to hunt. At least with this extremely early youth hunting day, kids will have a chance to knock down a deer who hasn't even thought about a gunshot yet, much less heard one. Unlike the September early archery season we have here in my home county of Loudoun, the Sept. 26 youth hunt will not be limited to antlerless deer.
Speaking of Loudoun though, why were we excluded from the youth hunt? Along with kids from our neighboring Northern Virginia counties of Fairfax and Prince William, Loudoun youth are getting the short end of the stick on this one. Luckily for me, I have a couple spots in other parts of the state where I could take my kids.
Unfortunately for them though, they'll probably have to sit this youth hunt out anyway. My oldest is eight, and, while I think he may be ready to take a deer this year, I don't think he's ready to hunt without an adult who can take a follow-up shot. Adults may neither carry nor discharge a weapon on the youth hunt.
So he'll probably have to wait, at least until November. But I'm thrilled that the Commonwealth of Virginia is doing something to help kids get excited about hunting, and I wish all the youth who will be able to participate the best of luck!