Youth Apprentice Hunter Policy Set Just One Item Remains
By Toby Trigger

Posted: August 22, 2015

The controversial Apprentice Hunter program approved with the passing of HB140 in Montana earlier this year is nearly ironed out.  Concerns over the original wording that did not allow youth under the age of 12 to hunt if they had already taken hunter education while youth under the age of twelve with no formal education would be allowed to hunt set off a fury of comments.  And rightfully so.

The rule making process has eliminated concerns.  One question remains to be answered and that is whether Apprentice Hunters will be able to participate in the Early Two-Day Youth Hunt offered by the Montana FWP.  This decision will be made at the commissioners meeting to be held on Aug 25, 2015 in Helena.

Public Comment will only be taken in Helena although audio of this call will be available through the FWP website :

Many questions have arisen due to this new youth opportunity.   To help clarify the most common concerns and points of confusion the Following FAQ were provided by the MTFWP Education Program:

Hunter Apprentice FAQ Hunter Apprentice 8/20/15 1

Can 10 and early 11-year-olds take hunter education? 1. Yes, 10 and 11-year–olds can take hunters education if there is capacity in the class after 12-year-olds have registered. A ten-year-old cannot register online, and parents should contact the instructor directly to make arrangements. We also strongly encourage parents to be with their 10/11 year old throughout the class.


Can 10 and early 11-year-olds who do take hunter education still be an apprentice hunter? 1. Yes, the FWP Commission approved an ARM rule clarifying that 10 and early 11-year-olds who have taken or will take hunter education are eligible to hunt as apprentices.


Can 10 and early 11-year-olds who do take hunter education still be certified and receive a certificate at graduation time? 1. Yes, 10 and early 11-year-olds who take and pass hunter education will receive a certificate at graduation time. This certificate will not be valid in Montana until the child is 11 turning 12 by January 16 of the license year. They can then use this certificate to purchase regular general licenses.


Will an apprentice hunter need to retake hunter education? 1. No, they will not need to retake hunter education.


Are 10 and early 11-year-olds able to participate in the early two-day youth-hunts (deer, waterfowl, and pheasant)? 1. Yes, any youth from 10 to 15-years-old may participate.


Can an apprentice hunter purchase over-the-counter surplus deer B licenses? 1. Yes, if there are licenses available.


How do 10 and early 11-year-olds who want to take hunter education sign up online? 1. Ten-year-olds will not be able to register online for hunter education. Parents must contact the instructor or region directly to make arrangements. Twelve-year-olds and eligible 11-year-olds will have priority registration. Ten-year- olds will be accommodated if there is space in the class. Eleven-year-olds may sign up online.


Can we enter 10 and early 11-year-olds who want to take hunter education into Kalkomey? 1. Yes, if you want to register a 10-year-old, go to your Roster and click Add Student. Enter the student’s information in as you normally would; however, change the year of birth to make him or her 11; click Save, you will then see the student’s name on your roster. Click on the student’s name, and click Edit. Change the year so that it reflects the correct student age and Save the edited record. Eleven year olds can register online normally.


Can a nine-year old purchase an apprentice certificate if they turn 10 by January 16? 1. No, a child must be 10 at the time of purchase to hunt as an apprentice.


Does the mentor have to have the same licenses as the apprentice? 1. No, a mentor must have a current Montana hunting license. It does not have to be the same as their apprentice.

Hunter Apprentice FAQ Hunter Apprentice 8/20/15 2

What licenses can an apprentice hunter purchase? 1. An apprentice hunter can purchase general licenses for deer, bear, wolf, lion, turkey, upland game bird and waterfowl. An apprentice may not hunt big horn sheep or elk (unless ages 15-17) and they cannot put in for any drawings or purchase any limited quota licenses.


Does an apprentice hunter have to take hunter education to hunt? 1. No, the law was written so that an apprentice hunter (ages 10-17) may hunt for two years without hunter education. After two years, the apprentice must take hunter education if they want to continue hunting. These can be non-consecutive years.


Can a mentor have more than one apprentice hunter with them? 1. No, a mentor may only accompany one apprentice hunter at a time. An apprentice hunter may have more than one mentor designated to them.


Where can an apprentice hunter purchase their certificate and licenses? 1. An apprentice hunter must purchase their apprentice certificate at a FWP Regional office. A parent or guardian must be with the apprentice to purchase the certificate. The cost is $5. After the certificate is purchased, apprentices can purchase licenses at any license provider or online.


Does an apprentice have to visit an FWP office both years to purchase the apprentice certificate? 1. Yes, the apprentice certificate must be purchased each year the person hunts as an apprentice and can only be purchased at an FWP office.


Will the apprentice hunter have an ALS number? 1. Yes, they will be assigned an ALS number when they purchase their first apprentice certificate.


How does a person become a mentor? 1. Visit the FWP website or go to a regional FWP office to receive a copy of the mentor form. This form must be carried by the mentor while in the field with their apprentice.


Can an apprentice use archery equipment during the archery only season? 1. No, unless the apprentice has taken bowhunter education and purchased an archery stamp. A person must be at least 11 turning 12 by January 16 of the license year to take bowhunter education.


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