Getting young people outdoors to hunt squirrels, rabbits and other small game is the focus of Minnesota's Take a Kid Hunting Weekend this Saturday, Sept. 21, and Sunday, Sept. 22.

During the weekend, adult Minnesota residents accompanied by a hunters younger than age 16 can hunt small game without a license but must comply with open seasons, limits and other regulations.

“Small game hunting helps teach the basics and goes a long way toward getting ready for hunting bigger game like turkey or deer,” said James Burnham, recruitment, retention and reactivation coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “Not to mention that squirrels and rabbits can provide delicious, local food.”

Hunting small game provides a lower stress environment when kids are learning how to search for game sign, proper firearms handling and accessing hunting properties. It can be more active than some types of hunting that involve lengthier periods of time sitting still and being quiet.

“Plus, you get to get in a good walk and have a decent conversation, so it’s less time just sitting and waiting for something to happen,” Burnham said.

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After small game hunting, young hunters can bring the skills they’ve gained to the youth deer season, Thursday, Oct. 17, through Sunday, Oct. 20. That season coincides with statewide teacher workshops, so many Minnesota students don’t have school during the youth season’s first two days.

For more information on small game hunting and hunting regulations, visit the DNR's small game hunting page.