Passport program a boon for new hunters

It's easier than ever to introduce someone new to hunting in Idaho.

One way is through Idaho Fish and Game’s Hunting Passport, which offers novice hunters, both young and old, the opportunity to hunt for one year before needing to complete a hunter education course.

A Hunting Passport is a special authorization that allows anyone who has never held a hunting license in any state, resident and nonresident, age 8 and older, to hunt wildlife for one year when they are accompanied by a mentor and participating in the Mentored Hunting Program.

While there is no upper age limit to participate, new hunters must be 10 years of age to hunt big game, turkey and sandhill crane and 8 to hunt most other game birds and small game that do not require tags.

Passport holders must purchase general season tags, appropriate permits and validations. All hunting rules, seasons and weapon restrictions apply.

Hunting Passports cost $1.75 and are available at all Fish and Game license vendors. It expires Dec. 31 of the year it was issued, and only one can be purchased in a lifetime, except an 8 year old may obtain a second passport at 9 years old. To continue hunting after the passport expires, the hunter must complete a hunter education course and purchase a license.

The program was originally designed as a way to get more youth interested in hunting, and growing interest in locally sourced food is attracting adults.

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