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Ask the Conservation Officer (CO)

by Gary Hompland, Regional Conservation Officer

Question: "My ten-year old daughter just completed a fantastic hunter education class and now possesses the graduate hunting license. We also raise trailing hounds and she would like to go along with me on my next bear hunt. Since she and I are training a hound for her, can she handle this dog while with me trailing a black bear?"

Answer: The short answer is she can accompany you on your next bear hunt, but she may not be in control of any dogs. This is a technicality and I will do my best to explain.

Relatively recent legislation allowed your son or daughter to obtain a free Youth Hunter Education Graduate Hunting License after successfully completing the Department sponsored hunter education class. Her graduate hunting license allows her to hunt only upland game, waterfowl, and unprotected species when accompanied by a licensed mentoring adult. Your daughter is not allowed to purchase the next class of hunting license; a junior hunting license, until she is 12 years old.

The hound hunting rules for black bear and mountain lion require the owner or person in control of the trailing dogs to possess a hunting license, a hound hunting permit, and bear tag.

Commission rules prohibit permits and tags to be issued on the graduate hunting license. A junior hunting license holder may purchase a hound hunting permit and bear tag subsequently allowing them to control trailing dogs.

The Commission rules were not intended to discriminate against young hunters but instead to encourage them to accompany mentoring adults. I'm sorry your daughter cannot handle her own dog, but I would certainly encourage her to accompany you on your hunt.

Reference Idaho Codes 36-406(i), 36-409(g), IDAPA 13.01.15100 and 13.01.15200.

If you have any further questions you may call the Magic Valley Regional Office of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game at (208)324-4350 or e-mail us at the Fish and Game web site at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov.