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HUNT MENU

Antelope in a field.

Hunter Education Apprentice Hunter Program

About the Program

The Apprentice Hunter program allows anyone 10 or older to hunt for up to two years without completing a hunter education course. Certain restrictions apply, and anyone certified as an Apprentice must be accompanied by a certified Mentor. 

The program was enacted by the 2015 state Legislature, and it originally created the opportunity for youth 10-17 years of age to hunt without completing hunter education. The 2017 Legislature amended the law to increase the age limit to anyone 10 or older and prohibited an apprentice hunter from obtaining a black bear, mountain lion or wolf license.

Apprentice

An apprentice MUST:
  • be 10 years of age or older at the time of license purchase.
  • have appropriate current Montana hunting license(s) for the species being hunted; the licenses MUST show that he/she is Apprentice Hunter Certified.
 
An apprentice MAY:
  • be a resident or nonresident
  • obtain an Apprentice Hunter Certification for no more than 2 license years before they must complete a hunter safety and education course
  • participate in any youth hunt

 

An apprentice is NOT ELIGIBLE to:
  • obtain a special bow and arrow license without first having completed a bowhunter education course and be 12 years of age before Jan. 16 of the license year
  • obtain a resident hound training license for chasing mountain lion
  • participate in a hunting license or permit drawing with a limited quota
  • obtain any bighorn sheep, black bear, mountain lion or wolf license
  • obtain an elk license if under 15 years of age

Violation of these terms could result in the loss of hunting privileges for up to one full license season.

Mentor

A mentor MUST
  • be 21 years old or older
  • if apprentice hunter is under 18 years of age, be related to the apprentice by blood, adoption, or marriage; or be the apprentice’s legal guardian, or be designated by the apprentice’s legal guardian
  • have completed hunter education–if born after Jan. 1, 1985
  • have a current Montana hunting license
  • complete a Apprentice Hunter Mentor Form
  • agree to accompany and supervise the apprentice hunter and remain within sight of and direct voice contact with the apprentice hunter at all times while in the field
  • confirm that the apprentice hunter possesses the physical and psychological capacity to safely and ethically engage in hunting activities
  • only accompany one apprentice at a time
A mentor MAY
  • hunt when accompanying their apprentice

Violation of these terms could result in the loss of hunting privileges for up to one full license season.

Parent or Legal Guardian

If the mentor is not related to the apprentice (under 18 years of age) by blood, adoption, or marriage, the parent MUST:

  • designate the mentor on an Apprentice Hunter Mentor Form.

Obtaining an Apprentice Hunter Certificate

Who

The apprentice hunter MUST go to an FWP regional office and have a completed Apprentice Hunter Certification Form to purchase their Apprentice Hunter Certificate.

 
Where

Purchase at any FWP regional office

 
Fee

$5

Purchasing Species Specific License(s)

Who

The apprentice may purchase any appropriate licenses that the apprentice is eligible for once they have received their Apprentice Hunter Certification.

 
Where

Purchase at any FWP regional office or license provider.

 
Fee

An apprentice hunter who is under 12 years of age is eligible to obtain the unlimited reduced cost licenses available to a person who is 12 years of age. All other normal license fees apply.

Completing Apprentice Hunter Mentor Forms

Who

The mentor MUST complete the form. The mentor MUST sign their section and get signed approval from the parent or legal guardian, if applicable.

 
Where

The form can be picked up at any FWP regional office or downloaded.

 
Fee

There is no fee for the form.

Go Hunting

The mentor MUST
  • Accompany and supervise the apprentice while hunting and
  • Remain within sight of and direct voice contact with the apprentice hunter at all times
  • Have the Apprentice Hunter Mentor Form in his/her possession at all times while in the field
 
A mentor MAY
  • Also hunt when accompanying their apprentice
 
The apprentice MUST
  • Have their Conservation License and other applicable licenses in their possession at all times while in the field