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Hunting Passport

Monday, September 1, 2014 

Idaho’s Hunting Passport is a component of Fish and Game’s mentored hunting program. It allows any first-time hunter, resident or nonresident, age 8 and older to try hunting for one year with an adult mentor without first having to complete an Idaho hunter education course.


Hunting Passport Highlights:
  • Hunting Passports are only available to first time hunters. Those that have previously held a hunting license in any state are not eligible.
  • Hunter Education certification is not needed to obtain a Hunting Passport. If an individual has completed a Hunter Education course but has not yet purchased a license, they are eligible for a Hunting Passport.
  • The minimum age to hold a Hunting Passport is eight years of age; there is no maximum age.
  • The Hunting Passport is a calendar year item just like a hunting license and expires on December 31 of the year in which it was obtained. 
  • Only one Passport can be purchased in a lifetime. To continue hunting after the Passport expires, completion of a hunter education course and license purchase is required.   
  • Hunting Passports are available at license vendors and Fish and Game regional offices. 
  • Cost is $1.75.
Idaho Hunter Passport

There is no better way to introduce a new hunter to the safe, ethical and responsible aspects of hunting than with the close supervision of a qualified adult mentor.
 
Mentored Hunter

  • Must be 10 years of age to hunt big game, turkey and sandhill crane; 8 years of age to hunt other game birds, upland game animals, furbearers, predatory or unprotected species. 
  • Holders of a Hunting Passport must purchase general season tags and all permits and validations to participate in the hunt.  
  • All hunting rules, seasons and weapon restrictions apply to the holder of a Hunting Passport.
  • Holders of a Hunting Passport are not eligible to possess a controlled hunt tag but may be designated a Landowner Appreciation Program (LAP) controlled hunt tag.
  • Must carry their Hunting Passport on their person while hunting and produce it if requested by a conservation officer.
Mentors

  • Must be age 18 or older. 
  • Must possess a valid Idaho hunting license.
  • May not accompany more than 2 mentored hunters at one time. Accompany means close enough to be within normal conversation or hearing range without shouting or the aid of electronic devices. 
  • Are not restricted from hunting with valid license and tags while serving as a mentor.
  • Are not restricted to the type of hunting the mentored hunter has tags for. For example, the holder of a hunting passport and general elk tag could be mentored by an adult possessing a nonresident small game license.
  • Any mentor accompanying the holder of a nonresident junior mentored tag must possess a tag for the same species.
  • No registration is required for the mentor.  
 
Questions and Answers

What is the Hunting Passport?

Idaho’s Hunting Passport is a component of our mentored hunting program. The Hunting Passport is a special authorization that allows residents and nonresidents, 8 years or older, who have not yet received hunter education certification, to hunt while being accompanied by a licensed adult mentor.

The Hunting Passport allows the beginning hunter to experience hunting before committing to the coursework and effort required to complete hunter education.

Who can possess a Hunting Passport?

Hunting Passports are available only to first time hunters planning to hunt in Idaho.  Those that have previously held a hunting license in any state are not eligible. 

The minimum age to hold a Hunting Passport is eight years of age.  There is no maximum age.

Holders of a Hunting Passport must be 10 years of age to hunt big game, turkey and sandhill crane; and 8 years of age to hunt most other game birds, upland game animals, furbearers, predatory and unprotected species.

Holders of a Hunting Passport must purchase general season tags, appropriate permits and validations to participate in hunting.  All hunting rules, seasons and weapon restrictions also apply to the holder of a Hunting Passport.

What is expected of a mentor?

Being a mentor can be very satisfying and a great experience, but it carries with it important responsibilities. Mentors should be prepared to provide a safe and memorable first-time hunting experience by conducting themselves in a safe, legal, ethical and responsible manner at all times. The mentor is responsible for making sure his or her mentored hunter understands all the appropriate hunting regulations, safe hunting practices and ethical considerations during any mentored hunting experience.

To participate as a hunting mentor, they must:
  • Be at least 18 years of age.
  • Possess a valid Idaho hunting license while in the field with the mentored hunter.
  • Not accompany more than two mentored hunter at one time.  Accompany means close enough to be within normal conversation or hearing range without shouting or the aid of electronic devices.
  • No registration is required for the mentor.

In addition, mentors are not restricted from hunting while serving as a mentor if they possess the appropriate license, tags and permits.

Mentors are also not restricted to the type of hunting for which the mentored hunter has tags.  For example, the holder of a Hunting Passport and general elk tag could be mentored by an adult possessing a nonresident small game license.

However, any resident or nonresident mentor accompanying the holder of a nonresident Junior Mentored Tag must have a tag for the same species, valid in the same area.

Is Hunter Education certification required before obtaining a Hunting Passport?

No. Hunter Education is not required to obtain a Hunting Passport.  However, if an individual has completed a Hunter Education course but has never purchased a license, they are eligible to participate.

How long is a Hunting Passport valid?

The Hunting Passport is a calendar year item just like a hunting license and expires on December 31 of the year in which it was obtained.

Can a person obtain a Hunting Passport more than one year?

No. Only one Hunting Passport can be purchased in a lifetime. To continue hunting after the Passport expires, completion of a hunter education course and license purchase is required.

Where are they available and how much do they cost?

Hunting Passports are available at license vendors and Fish and Game offices. Cost is $1.75 issuance fee.

Can a holder of a Hunting Passport apply for a controlled hunt?

No. They are not eligible to apply for a controlled hunt, but may be designated a Landowner Appreciation Program (LAP) controlled hunt tag if they are qualified to participate in the hunt.

Why was the Hunter Passport program started?

Research demonstrates that early exposure is critical to people taking up hunting or other forms of outdoor recreation. But children and adults are busy today and have many more recreational choices. Some studies show that the hunter education coursework may be a barrier that can discourage some youth and adults from participating in a first-time hunting experience. In Idaho, some communities have more demand for hunting education classes than their volunteer instructors can provide.

The new Mentored Hunting Program provides another avenue to build excitement and spark interest in hunting as a life-long activity. This one-on-one mentoring opportunity gives first-time hunters a chance to try hunting and enables veteran hunters to pass on their passion for the outdoors.  Ultimately, more people will enter the sport - helping support and keep Idaho’s hunting strong and safe.

The time shared between a novice hunter and a mentor is invaluable. There is simply no better way to introduce a new hunter to the safe, ethical and responsible aspects of hunting than with the close supervision of an adult mentor that the Mentored Hunting Program provides.

Will this diminish hunting safety in Idaho, or undermine the Hunter Education Program?

No. Information from the International Hunter Education Association indicates that mentored hunters are as safe as other hunters, and hunting continues to get safer in Idaho - thanks primarily to 35 years of hunter education programs taught by dedicated volunteer instructors. Rather than undermining the hunter education program, the Hunter Passport will spark more interest in hunting. Hunting Passport holders will still be required to complete Idaho’s hunter education course to continue hunting.

The Hunting Passport does not waive Idaho’s requirement for license purchase, it simply allows people a chance to test the waters for one year and see if hunting is something they will enjoy.

Last Updated: July 24, 2014 
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