Idaho hunting newbies can get a ‘passport’ to go hunting

Program is limited to people who’ve never bought a hunting license.

pzimowsky@idahostatesman.comSeptember 12, 2013 

It used to be that hunting season wasn’t the time for a newcomer to get started hunting.

There was a lot of preparation to be done months beforehand. First, a hunter education class was required before buying an Idaho hunting license if you were born after on or after Jan. 1, 1975.

Then there are other questions. What to hunt? Where to find the animals? What are the hunting regulations and different hunting areas?

Well, Idaho Fish and Game made it a lot easier for newcomers to try hunting, if they have an adult friend or relative to show them the ropes.

Idaho’s Hunting Passport is part of the state’s mentored hunting program. It allows any first-time hunter, resident or nonresident, age 8 and older, to try hunting for one year without first having to complete an Idaho hunter education course.

Those who have previously held a hunting license in any state are not eligible, according to Fish and Game’s rules.

Even people who have already completed a hunter education course, but have not purchased a hunting license, are eligible for a passport.

The passport runs for the calendar year just like Idaho’s hunting and fishing licenses and costs only $1.75.

Only one passport can be purchased in a lifetime, so those who want to continue hunting after the passport expires must go through a hunter education course to get another license.

Once a person gets a mentor lined up and buys the hunter’s passport, there are other things to do:

• Make sure you’re in good shape to be hiking through the mountains or fields.

• Read Idaho’s hunting rules and become familiar with each species and specific rules pertaining to those species.

• You will have to buy all the big-game tags you’ll need in addition to the passport. If you are going duck or goose hunting, you’ll need a federal duck stamp if you are over age 16.

• Ask your mentor to help you with shooting practice and safe gun handling before going afield.

• Go out with your mentor beforehand to scout hunting areas so you know what to expect.

• Ask the mentor what clothing, boots and other equipment you might need to buy or borrow for the hunt.

• Be patient. Hunters spend years learning the sport, and harvesting game is challenging. Don’t expect instant success.

Pete Zimowsky: 377-6445, Twitter: @Zimosoutdoors

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