Elk NetworkIdaho’s ‘Hunting Passport’ Allows Hunting without Hunter Education Class

General | October 9, 2020

Below is a news release from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. Many states have similar hunting mentor programs. Be sure to check with your state wildlife agency for details.

Idaho’s Hunting Passport is part of Fish and Game’s mentored hunting program, which allows any first-time hunter, resident or nonresident, over the age of 8, to try hunting for a year with an adult mentor without first having to complete an Idaho hunter education course. The idea is to give beginners the opportunity to experience hunting along with an experienced hunter and then decide if they want to continue.

It’s not only a great way to get started, it costs less than a cup of fancy coffee. You can start hunting in Idaho for $1.75 and hunt a variety of game.

Here are more details and requirements:

  • Hunting Passports are only available to first-time hunters. Anyone who has held a hunting license in any state is ineligible.
  • Holders of a Hunting Passport must buy all tags, permits and validations required to participate in a hunt, such as archery or muzzleloader permits, waterfowl stamp, etc.
  • If an individual has completed a Hunter Education course, but has not yet purchased a license, they are still eligible for a Hunting Passport.
  • The minimum age to hold a Hunting Passport is eight years of age; there is no maximum age.
  • Only one Hunting Passport can be purchased in a lifetime, except an 8 year old may obtain an additional passport each year until turning 10 years old. 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. The Hunting Passport is good for a calendar year and expires on December 31 of the year in which it was obtained.

Anyone who hunts under the Hunting Passport program must be accompanied by a mentor who is an Idaho licensed hunter at least 18 years old. Other requirements for the mentored hunting include:

  • A mentor may not accompany more than two mentored hunters at a time.
  • Mentoring a hunter means being close enough to be within normal conversation or hearing range without shouting, or the aid of electronic devices, such as a two-way radio or cell phone.
  • Mentors may hunt with the Passport holder as long as the mentor is legally allowed to participate in that hunt and has all necessary licenses, tags and permits. For example, a mentor could hunt in a general hunt, but not in a youth-only hunt.
  • Mentors are not restricted to the type of hunting the mentored hunter has tags for. For example, a person with a hunting passport and elk tag could be mentored by an adult possessing a nonresident small game license. However, any mentor accompanying the holder of a nonresident junior mentored tag must possess the same tag as the junior they are mentoring.

(Photo source: Idaho Department of Fish and Game)