By Roger Phillips, Idaho Fish and Game public information specialist
Never hunted? Don't worry, it's not as complicated as it may appear at first glance. Idaho Fish and Game has devoted a web page to help novices understand the basics, including what they need to get started, what game is available and where to go.
The information is in an easy-to-understand format that allows you to easily navigate Fish and Game's website and get the information needed to start hunting. You can see it at https://idfg.idaho.gov/hunting/beginners-guide.
Fish and Game understands hunting can be intimidating to a novice because hunting rules are so comprehensive. Idaho has more than 450 species of wildlife, and many are pursued by hunters during different seasons, in different places and by different hunting methods (rifle, bow, shotgun, etc.).
That means a lot of hunting rules, but beginners shouldn't be overwhelmed. The department will walk you through the process of becoming a hunter. Fish and Game even offers a "Hunting Passport" program for anyone who's never had a hunting license (in Idaho or elsewhere) that allows you to a buy a hunting license for the discounted price of $1.75. It is good for one calendar year, but you must hunt with a mentor age 18 or older who possesses a valid Idaho hunting license.
Small game and upland birds are good quarry for new hunters because all a person needs is a hunting license, and he or she can hunt cottontail rabbits, forest grouse, California and bobwhite quail, chukar, gray partridge, pheasant and more.
There's also information on the web page to help a new hunter get started pursuing waterfowl, turkeys and popular big-game animals like deer and elk, both of which are possible for novices to harvest.
The page also explains who needs hunter education (anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1975), how to enroll in courses, where to go hunting (including maps), and what to do when you harvest an animal.