As the weather warms and fishing and hunting seasons approach, many families are looking to get their young hunters and anglers ready for a year of hunting and fishing adventures. Fish and Game is committed to ensuring that Idaho’s youth are offered many opportunities to grow as hunters and anglers. The first step is having the correct licenses and permits before venturing out in the field, and knowing what training is required for hunting and trapping.
Depending on their age, it can be hard to pinpoint exactly what licenses are necessary for young hunters or anglers to possess for each activity. To minimize this yearly confusion, this guide has been developed to answer frequently asked questions about how and when to get the youth in your family ready for a year of outdoor adventures.
To prove residency, non-drivers under the age of 18 must have a parent or guardian provide proof of residency to purchase resident products.
Youth who are residents of Idaho 13 years of age and under do not need a license to fish. However, they are still held to the same daily and possession limits and fishing rules as an adult. When fishing for salmon or steelhead, a permit is not necessary unless the youth wants to catch and keep their own limit, otherwise the salmon/steelhead they possess is counted as part of the supervising angler’s limit and recorded on that person's permit.
Resident youth between the ages of 14 and 17 are required to obtain a junior license to fish. This license can either be a one- or three-year license.
A young angler with her prized catch.
Junior fishing license holders are required to purchase their own salmon or steelhead permit.
All anglers, no matter their age, are required to purchase a two-pole permit if they choose to fish using two poles.
Youth big game hunting
Anyone over 8 years of age is eligible to purchase a Hunting Passport prior to taking a certified hunter education class. Idaho’s Hunting Passport is part of Fish and Game’s mentored hunting program, allowing any first-time hunter, resident or nonresident, to try hunting for one year with an adult mentor without first having to complete an Idaho hunter education course. A person on a passport (regardless of age) may buy tags, but is not eligible to submit an application for any controlled hunt tags.
Idaho youth who are residents between the ages of 10 to 17, after successfully completing an Idaho hunter education class can hunt big game with a "junior" license and a general big game over-the-counter tag for deer and elk. Youth with a junior license are eligible to submit an application for a controlled hunt.
A successful deer hunt for a young hunter.
Archery and muzzleloader permits are necessary for all youth hunters when participating in an archery- only or muzzleloader-only hunt. If the hunt is specified as short range only, neither permit is necessary to use a bow or muzzleloader.
Youth hunters do not need a bear bait permit to hunt over another person’s bait, however they must obtain a bear baiting permit if they intend to place and remove bait from a site.
Youth wanting to hunt mountain lions must have a valid hunting license and a valid hound hunter permit when hunting over dogs. Regardless of whether the child is handling or just hunting alongside dogs, this permit is required. The only exception to this rule is if the hunter (regardless of age) is with an outfitter with a valid hound hunter permit.
Youth turkey hunting
Youth ages 8-9, and older, may purchase a turkey tag with a Hunting Passport. Youth ages 10-17 with a junior license can buy a turkey tag and may also apply for youth-only controlled turkey hunts.
Youth small game and waterfowl hunting
Waterfowl can be harvested by anyone using a hunting passport, or youth who have a junior hunting license.
An Idaho youth on a waterfowl hunt.
Migratory Bird (HIP) permit is required for all waterfowl, sandhill crane, and mourning dove hunters. A Federal Migratory Bird (Duck) Stamp is also required for any waterfowl hunters ages 16 or older.
Sage/sharp-tailed grouse permits are required for all hunters to harvest sage or sharp-tailed grouse.
An upland game permit is not required for hunters 17 years of age or younger. This permit is only required when the hunter is 18 years of age or older when hunting for birds that have been stocked by Fish and Game on certain properties across the state. A list of stocking locations can be found on Fish and Game's pheasant hunting webpage.
A trapping license is required for anyone to trap wildlife in Idaho. A junior trapping license is available to any youth under 17 years of age who has completed trapper education. Anyone who has not held an Idaho trapping license prior to July 2011 is required to take trapper education before purchasing a trapping license.
Contact your local Fish and Game office if you have questions about licensing requirements for any aged hunter or angler.