Idaho F&G Makes It Easier To
"Take a Kid Hunting"

By Longwalker
Pacific Northwest Field Editor
12-year-old Spokane, Washington resident Cory V. thinks that the new Idaho Nonresident Junior Mentored Hunting License and tags are a great idea as he grins over his first whitetail buck harvested south of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho on a 5 degree below zero opening day. "Now my dad says I get to hunt in Idaho with my Uncle Longwalker!" Says Cory, "I almost got a bear, too, this spring! But he winded us just as I was getting ready to pull the trigger, and ran away. He sure was big!"
Nonresident hunters take note. No longer can you use the expense of your out-of-state license and tags to leave your sons and daughters at home when you travel to the great state of Idaho for your annual deer, elk or even bear hunt.

The Department of Fish and Game conducted several "focus groups" relating to hunter recruitment during the winter of 2002-2003. One of the issues discussed at length was the high cost of nonresident license and tags as it relates to junior hunters.

Under the previous statute, a nonresident youth (minimum age of 12 up to their 18th birthday) was required to pay the same amount for his or her hunting license and big game tags as an adult.

Whereas a resident youth in Idaho got a break of nearly 50 percent in the cost on both the hunting license ($6.50 versus $11.50) or combination hunting and fishing license, ($16 versus $30.50).

Not so for nonresident youth. Additionally, incredibly in some neighboring states such as Washington, it was less expensive for a nonresident youth to hunt than in his home state of Idaho.

The department noted that enacting a nonresident youth hunting license provision at the same cost as the resident youth, $6.50, could potentially cost the Department as much as $50,000 in lost revenue.

"First of all, this potential loss will be offset by the fact that you will sell more junior licenses and big game tags, with little impact on the resource. Also the fees charged nonresident youth has got to be one of the most anti-family rules on the books in our state," commented Hunter Education instructor Brian Farley at one meeting. "Today’s divorce rate nationwide runs higher than the marriage rate, well over 50 percent. We have a very mobile society these days. There are many divorced families with young children that no longer live in the same state. Here we have a common situation where the mother usually gets custody and quite often moves away. The children grow to an age where dad back in Idaho feels it's time to spend quality time with little Johnny during his short visitation period by sharing our outdoor heritage. Not only does he have the financial burden of getting little Johnny up here but laying out over $700 for his son or daughter to tag along with him and have a legal chance at harvesting an animal. Because they will have to take their child out of school, they probably will only have less than one week in the field. Pretty expensive week’s vacation for most, it seems to me. Most just cannot afford this. And what of families that come together for their traditional fall hunts? Little Billy and Suzie up from California have to stay in camp and do dishes because of our antiquated fee structure? Ridiculous."

Apparently the Idaho Fish and Game Commissioners agreed. Beginning in 2003, the Nonresident Junior Mentored Hunting License for 12- to 17-year-old hunters was created. Instead of a $128.50 hunting license, the new rule calls for the license to be a paltry $6.50. Elk tags were likewise reduced from $338.50 to just $15. Deer tags went from $235 to $9.75. Black bear tags valid for both spring and fall hunts are only $6. Nonresident Youth Mentored Turkey tags dropped from $61.50 to $9.75. And don’t forget, the deer tag can be used on a black bear or mountain lion as well.

"This takes the cost of including a nonresident junior hunter in an Idaho hunt from one of the largest costs of the trip to an almost insignificant one. A box of bullets or one tank of gasoline costs more. Nearly any teen could save up this money themselves," said Farley.

The only restriction for this type of license is, according to the latest regs, "the nonresident youth mentored license or tag holder has to hunt with ANY adult who has a valid Idaho hunting license."

Additionally resident hunter recruitment was targeted as well. "Statistics show that only approximately 58% of our hunter education graduates purchase their hunting license," said Region One Hunter Education coordinator David Nelson. "Obviously our treasured sport cannot endure without our youth entering the ranks of hunters."

Again the Commission took quick action. Now, any youth aged 10 through 17 who passed the hunter education class can obtain their very first license at a discount. The cost of the new Youth Hunter Education Graduate License is only $4.50.

Ths is the first time that anyone under the age of 12 has been able to hunt in Idaho. Now with this license,10 and 11 year olds, resident and nonresident alike, can hunt upland and migratory game birds, turkey, small game, unprotected and predatory wildlife as well. They still cannot hunt big game until age 12. See the latest regulations for definitions.

Additionally, once a junior has purchased his first discounted license, he or she can continue to purchase another new license option, the new Youth Small Game License. This license is valid for the same species as the Hunter Education Grad license noted above. The cost of this new license is $6.50.

For more information on hunting or fishing in Idaho, log onto the Fish & Game website at

So there you have it. In Idaho, it is easier than ever to "TAKE A KID HUNTING!" Do it today!
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