The woods will be filled with young people today, so wear your blaze orange and be alert whenever you're near the trees.

It's youth hunting day in Maine, a single day of hunting set aside for the younger set. They're excited and enthusiastic, with big dreams of bagging a big buck. It's a rite of passage for Maine youth, many of whom will grow up to anticipate this season all year long. Every hunter I've ever met has a story about going into the woods with a family member or friend, when they were still a kid.

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In Maine, a Junior hunter from 10 to 15 years old must be under the effective control of a supervisor, at all times. Junior hunters under the age of 10 must also be under the effective control of a supervisor, who must always be within 20 feet of the hunter. A 'supervisor' is defined as a parent or guardian, or a person age 18 or older who is approved by the parent or guardian. Whoever goes into the woods with the juvenile must hold a valid hunting license, have completed a hunter safety course, and may not take a weapon of their own on the trip.

This all sounds very safe and, for the most part, it is safe. But still, it's important for the rest of us to take precautions. Wear your blaze orange today, if you're going to be near the woods. Supervise your pets whenever they're outside and keep them out of the trees as often as possible. Consider putting an orange vest, collar, or bandana on your pets to identify them as domestic animals.

Good luck to all the Junior hunters today. I hope each and every one of you finds the deer. Be careful. Be safe. And listen to your supervisor. Let's make it a fun and successful day.

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