For many, it was a weekend of memories made that will last a lifetime.

The annual Youth Firearms Big Game Hunt during the Columbus Day weekend began at sunrise Saturday and ended at sunset Monday. It allowed junior hunters (ages 14-15) to hunt with a firearm for deer or black bear while being accompanied by an unarmed, licensed, experienced adult hunter. For many of the young hunters it was their first time out.

The junior hunters were required to have taken and successfully passed a hunter safety course and have a hunting license. The adult mentor was required to be at least 21 years of age, be a licensed big game hunter and have at least three years of big game hunting experience. See the DEC website for more about the hunt and its regulations.

2020 Columbus Day Weekend Youth Firearms Hunt

Griffin Doan, 14, of Cayuga, N.Y. shot this nice buck during the Youth Firearms Hunt Weekend on Sunday evening in Cayuga County. He was hunting at the time with his father, Richard Doan. The shot was 110 yards with his 308 rifle.

Last year, a total of 1,148 deer and seven black bear were reported taken during the special hunt, according to the DEC’s 2019 deer and black bear hunting summaries. The hunt took place in both Northern and Southern