Columbus Day weekend signifies different things to different people. It's a long holiday weekend for some, stores hold annual sales over the weekend, and many towns and cities hold Italian parades or events. But for those for whom hunting is a family tradition, Columbus Day weekend brings about the Youth Big Game Hunt throughout the state.

According to the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, during this weekend licensed fourteen and fifteen year-olds can use a firearm to hunt deer or bear, so long as they are accompanied by an experienced, licensed hunter.

The Youth Big Game Hunt is a great way for young people to enjoy a successful hunt while learning responsible and ethical hunting techniques. In addition, either hunter orange or hunter pink must be worn by both the junior hunters and their adult mentors so as to prevent any mistaken identity between a hunter and an animal.

Before any hunter heads out, the DEC wants to remind every one to follow the four cardinal rules of hunting safety:  assume every gun is loaded, point your gun in a safe direction, keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot, and be sure of your target and beyond.

While there are additional rules and regulations for junior hunters and their mentors for this weekend, here's to keeping a family tradition alive and having a fun and safe experience.

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