Take a Kid Hunting Program

  2021-2022 Youth Hunts - All dates are Saturdays (except Youth Pheasant November 1-5)
Deer Bow Hunt: September 25, 2021
Pheasant Hunt: October 30, and Monday-Friday, November 1-5, 2021
Upland Game Bird Hunt: October 30, 2021
2021-22 Waterfowl Hunts:
    Oct. 9 & Feb. 5, North Zone
    Oct. 16 & Feb. 5, South Zone
    Oct. 30 & Feb. 5, Coastal Zone
Deer Firearm Hunt: November 20, 2021
Turkey Hunt: April 23, 2022
NOTE:February 5, 2022, is also Veterans/Active Military Waterfowl Hunting Day
Special Youth and Veterans/Active Military Waterfowl Hunting Days FAQs

The NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife’s popular Take a Kid Hunting Program is designed to provide a quality hunting experience for properly licensed youth hunters. These days, first added to the Game Code by the Fish and Game Council for the 2001-2002 season, increase a young hunter's opportunity for harvesting game in a setting which encourages responsible and safe hunting practices in a more relaxed setting. The program is coordinated by the division's R3 Program.

The primary component of the program is a series of "youth hunts" - special days, often outside regular hunting seasons on days provided in the Game Code. Hunts often utilize the expertise of "mentors" to further enhance the hunting experience.

There are typically five (5) youth hunting events: turkey, pheasant, upland birds, deer and waterfowl as described below.
All hunts require the hunter possess a valid Youth License and be under the direct supervision of a properly N.J. licensed, non-hunting adult 21 years of age or older.

Youth, mentor and turkey
Youth Turkey Hunting Day is a great opportunity for the next generation of hunters.
Click to enlarge
Turkey - One day held prior to the opening of the regular spring season.

Pheasant - The "Youth Season" is now extended to include the Monday through Friday prior to the regular season opening dates. The Take a Kid Pheasant Hunting program provides opportunities for young hunters to learn and experience pheasant hunting using trained bird dogs under the supervision and guidance of knowledgeable volunteer hunting mentors. Youth hunters can participate in a guided hunt on one of ten Wildlife Management Areas throughout the state that are stocked with pheasants.

Pre-registration is required for guided hunts available in early September. Youth hunters between the ages of 10 and 15 who do not pre-register for a guided hunt can hunt during special hours on any one of ten stocked WMAs. Support is provided by the State Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs. Youth Day Pheasant Stocking Maps:

Youth Registration Form
Dog Handler/Mentor Form

For more information or if interested in being a mentor, volunteer, or dog-handler; contact the R3 Program Staff at r3mentoredhunt@dep.nj.gov or 856-629-1014.

Upland Bird - One day held prior to the opening of the regular season on licensed semi-wild preserves.

Waterfowl - Days are held outside of the regular waterfowl seasons during periods of higher waterfowl abundance to enhance the hunting experience for youths and their mentors. Youth hunters can also take advantage of the special Wading River Youth Waterfowl Blinds and Mentoring Program.
Happy and proud youth with first buck
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Deer - Two days (bow and firearm) held prior to statewide opening days. These hunts are extensions of the Fall Bow and Six-day Firearm seasons so no special permit is required. Antler point and "antlerless deer first" requirements do NOT apply on these days. Youth hunters may still harvest two antlered deer during the regular Six-day Firearm Season and one antlered deer during the Fall Bow Season.

More complete information on each season is found in the 2021-22 Hunting & Trapping Digest.