How To Get Into Hunting- Step By Step Guide

How to get into hunting

Hunting is as old as humankind. It first appeared three million years ago out of necessity, and it has prevailed the test of time, remaining with us ever since.

Nowadays, it’s more of a family tradition that is passed down from father to son, one generation to the next. However, that doesn’t mean that those with no hunting background can’t pick up hunting as a new hobby later in life.

If you’re reading this article, you’re probably in the latter category, and asking yourself how to get into hunting.

It might seem like a difficult task, but it’s not impossible to learn how to hunt later in life.

Here, we’ve gathered all the advice, tips, and tricks you need to know in order to get your head in the game.

Why do people hunt?

 learn to hun

First, let’s see what the main reasons for hunting are (you’re probably going to relate with at least one, if not all of them). The four core reasons why people learn to hunt are: to spend more time in nature, to feel an intimate connection with the outdoors, to provide food for themselves and their families, and to understand and appreciate our kinship with wildlife.

Nowadays, anybody, at any age, can learn how to start hunting.

When it comes to kids, there is no set minimum age when they can learn about hunting and start practicing it. The best practice is to make sure that the child is mentally prepared and physically ready to shoot and kill an animal.

However, each state has a set of hunting age requirements that must be followed:

Alabama

Alabama doesn't have an age limit for supervised hunting.

For deer hunting, young hunters who are 16 years old must purchase a license.

If you were born after Aug. 1, 1977, you’ll need hunter education in order to purchase a hunting license.

Alaska

Children must be at least 10 years old to hunt alone in Alaska.

Young hunters that are under 16 must have basic hunter education or be under the direct supervision of a licensed hunter.

Arizona

In Arizona, children must be at least 10 years old to hunt big game.

Kids through the age of 13 will need a valid hunter education certificate from Arizona.

Arkansas

Arkansas has no age limit for children as long as they are under the direct supervision of a hunter who is at least 21 years old with a valid hunting license.

If you were born after Dec. 31, 1968, hunter education is required.

Young hunters that are 16 years of age will need an Arkansas hunting license.

California

Children in California need to be at least 12 years old to purchase a deer tag.

To purchase a hunting license, there is no minimum age requirement for applicants that can prove that they have hunter education.

Colorado

Kids must be at least 12 years old to hunt big game in Colorado, however, restrictions continue to apply up until the age of 18.

They will also need hunter education courses to purchase any type of hunting licence.

Connecticut

Kids must be at least 12 years old and have taken a conservation education/firearms course to obtain a license in Connecticut.

To hunt, they’ll need a hunting license and be accompanied/supervised by a licensed hunter that is over 18 years old.

Young hunters must be over 16 in order to hunt alone.

Delaware

In Delaware, kids starting at 10 years old need to take the hunter education course and become certified before participating in youth hunts.

Between the ages of 13-15, kids are required to hunt with licenced adults that are over 21.

Florida

There is no age limit for supervised hunting as long as the minor is with a licensed adult that is over 21.

In order to hunt alone, teenagers must be at least 16 years old and have completed a Hunter’s Safety Course.

Georgia

Children under 12 are not required to complete a hunter education course as long as they're under the direct supervision of a lawful hunter who is at least 18 years old.

To hunt alone, kids must be at least 12 years old and have completed a hunter education course.

Hawaii

Children in Hawaii must be a minimum of 16 years old to hunt alone.

If you were born after Jan. 1, 1972, you will need an approved hunter education course to purchase a license.

Idaho

In Idaho, children can hunt starting at 10 years old if they are supervised by an adult, and alone by the age of 12. However, they must be at least 12 years old to hunt big game.

If you were born after Jan. 1, 1975, you must have completed an approved hunter education course.

Illinois

Young hunters must be at least 16 years old to hunt alone.

Hunters born after Jan. 1, 1980 must have successfully completed an approved hunter education course.

Indiana

While there is no age limit, a young hunter under the age of 18 must be able to communicate with another licensed deer hunter who is at least 18 years old.

If you were born on or after December 31, 1986, you will need a hunter education course to get a hunting license in Indiana.

Iowa

Kids starting at 11 years old may register for hunter education.

If you’re under the age of 16, a license is required and you’ll need to hunt alongside a licensed hunter who is at least 18 years old.

Anyone born after Jan. 1, 1972 must successfully complete a hunter education course.

Kansas

There's no minimum age to apply for a big game (deer hunting) permit.

Kids that are 16 and younger may hunt without hunter education if directly supervised by someone who is 18 or older.

In order to hunt alone children must be 12 years old (other restrictions may apply).

Kentucky

Hunter education is required for all hunters born after Jan. 1, 1975.

Kids between the ages of 12 and 15 need to obtain the Youth Sportsman’s License and be accompanied by an adult on hunts.

Those under the age of 12, must be accompanied by an adult who is at least 18 years old, and who has completed and meets the hunter education requirement.

Louisiana

All hunters born after Sept. 1, 1969 must show proof of successfully completing an approved hunter safety course.

Hunters 16 and under may hunt with an adult who is 18 years old or older who has completed an approved hunter safety course or who has in their possession a valid hunting license.

Maine

Children under the age of 10 are not allowed to hunt.

Starting from this age, they can attend a firearms/archery safety course.

Young deer hunters between the age of 10 through 15 must possess a junior license.

Those over 16 years old must have a valid adult license to hunt.

Maryland

Kids that are 14 and younger may hunt only with an adult.

The adult must have completed an approved hunter education course, unless they have previously hunted there prior to July 1, 1977.

Kids that are 16 and under can participate in the Junior Hunter Certificate Program.

Massachusetts

The minimum age for hunting in Massachusetts is 12. Between 12-14 years old, kids may hunt only when accompanied by a licensed hunter 18 years or older, provided that a single bag limit is shared and a single firearm/bow is shared between the two people.

Michigan

Young deer hunters can be licensed at age 12 while hunting on private land and supervised by a licensed adult within visual and verbal contact.

Apprentice hunter programs allow individuals 17 and under to hunt.

Hunter education is required if you were born after Jan. 1, 1960.

Minnesota

10 and 11 years olds can obtain a free firearm license before hunting big game.

Kids can take firearm safety certificate courses at age 11.

Children aged 12 and 13 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian while hunting.

Mississippi

Hunter education courses are required if you were born after Jan. 1, 1972.

A deer hunter under the age of 12 must be accompanied and directly supervised by a licensed or exempt hunter who is at least 21 years old.

Missouri

Deer hunters born after Jan. 1, 1967 must complete an approved hunter education program.

Kids between 6 and 15 years old may purchase a youth antlerless deer hunting permit and must hunt while supervised/mentored by an adult who is 18 years of age or older and is hunter-education certified.

Montana

Hunters born after Jan. 1, 1985 must show a certificate of completing a hunter education course.

Teenagers between 12 – 17 years old who have completed hunter education are eligible to get their first hunting license for free.

Nebraska

Young deer hunters who are 10 or 11 may hunt under the supervision of a licensed deer hunter who is 19 years old or older.

Youths between the ages of 12 and 15 must have completed a firearm hunter education program and be accompanied by a licensed hunter who is at least 19 years old.

Nevada

Hunters born after Jan. 1, 1960 are required to provide proof of completing an approved hunter education course.

There's no minimum age to take Nevada’s course, but students under the age of 11 are required to take it with an adult.

Between 12-15 years old, kids may purchase a hunting license with a parent or legal guardian’s signature.

New Hampshire

Everyone is required to take training courses specific to the license type they want to purchase.

Kids must be at least 12 years old by completion of the course and certification.

There's no minimum age for youth hunters, but they must be accompanied by a licensed adult who is 18 years old or older.

New Jersey

Youths ages 10 – 13 must be accompanied by a properly licensed adult that is at least 21.

At age 16, young hunters may purchase a license.

New Mexico

Under the age of 18, a hunter education course certification is required to apply for or purchase any type of firearm license.

New York

Young hunters ages 12 through 15 who are applying for the first time must apply in person with proof of age and a proper sportsman education certification.

The Junior Hunter Mentoring program allows 14 – 15 year olds to hunt deer and bear with a firearm. They must be mentored by a parent, guardian, or person who is 21 years or older.

Junior Mentor Hunting allows 12 and 13 year olds to hunt small game.

North Carolina

Anyone born after July 1, 1991 must have successfully completed a hunting safety course.

Youths between the ages of 12-16 may hunt when accompanied by a licensed adult, after successfully completing a hunter safety course

North Dakota

Anyone born after 1961 needs a certificate of hunter education to purchase a hunting license. Exceptions are kids under 12 who are allowed to hunt with a parent or guardian.

Youths between the ages of 12 and 13 are eligible to receive an antlerless whitetail deer license.

At the ages of 14 and 15, hunters may be able to receive a youth hunters license.

Ohio

A hunter education certification is required.

Hunters that are 17 or under must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult who is at least 18 years old.

Oklahoma

Kids under 10 must complete hunter education and be accompanied by a licensed hunter who is over 21.

Kids over 10 years old may hunt alone after successfully completing hunter education and buying a license.

Oregon

Hunters under the age of 18 must successfully complete a hunter education program unless hunting on land owned by their parents, guardian, or are participating in the Mentored Youth Hunter Program.

Hunters at the age of 12 must purchase a valid adult hunting license.

Kids between the ages of 9 – 12 must purchase an adult hunting license to participate in the point saver program.

Pennsylvania

First time hunters must successfully complete a hunter-trapper education course.

Kids between 12–16 years old, or junior license holders, must be accompanied by an adult.

Rhode Island

A junior hunter between 12-14 years old who has completed a basic hunter education safety course must be in the immediate company of a licensed qualified adult that is at least 21.

South Carolina

All hunters born after June 30, 1979 must complete a hunter education course before a hunting license can be purchased.

Children 12 and under must be accompanied by a guardian when attending hunter education class.

Youth hunts for kids under 17 are available.

South Dakota

Kids between 12 to 15 years old need a Firearms Hunter Safety Cards to purchase a hunting license.

Cards from other states are honored.

 how to start hunting

Tennessee

Children that are 10 years old or older must meet the hunter education requirements.

Children and teens from 6-16 years old must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult who is at least 21 years old.

Texas

Every hunter born after Sept. 2, 1971 must successfully complete a hunter education course.

Young hunters ages 9 – 16 must be accompanied by a person who is at least 17 years old and is licensed to hunt in Texas.

Utah

A hunter born after Dec. 31, 1965 must provide proof of successfully completing an approved hunter education course.

To hunt big game in Utah, you must be at least 12 years old.

Young hunters under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent or a legal guardian.

Vermont

A child under 16 can only obtain a hunting licence if his parent or guardian is present and signs for him in front of the issuing agent. Hunter education is required.

Virginia

A hunter education course is mandatory for kids between the ages of 12-15 years old.

Young deer hunters under the age of 12 must be accompanied and directly supervised (within sight) of a parent/guardian.

Washington

Individuals born after Jan. 1, 1972 need to show proof of successful completion of a basic hunter education course.

West Virginia

Individuals born after Jan. 1, 1975 must successfully complete a certified hunter education course.

It's not allowed for anyone under the age of 15 to hunt on public lands unless he/she is accompanied by a licensed adult.

Wisconsin

Individuals born after Jan. 1, 1973 must have a certification of successfully completing a hunter safety course.

Only children over 12 years old may obtain a hunting license.

Wyoming

Individuals born after Jan. 1, 1966 must have a certificate of completion of a firearm safety course.

Children must be at least 12 years old to hunt big game.

What does a beginner hunter need?

Besides the appropriate gear and a valid hunting licence, there are many tips and tricks that a beginner hunter should know. We’ve discussed some of them here, so you can take a look.

It’s all about patience, endurance and perseverance.

Can you learn to hunt on your own?

If you don’t have family or friends that hunt, it might seem impossible to learn it on your own. The good news is that there are various Hunter Mentorship Programs in which you can enroll.

Depending on where you live or where you plan to hunt, you can research the mentorship programs that are available in your state.

Through these programs, you're likely going to meet people just like you that want to learn how to hunt and will become your new hunting buddies for future hunts.

What to hunt?

We know you’re excited for the actual hunt, and you’re not only asking yourself how to start hunting, but you’re also wondering what to hunt.

For beginners, there are several animals that are easier to hunt than others.

The perfect choice, by far, are ducks, but you can also try your hand with feathered quarry, wild turkeys, pheasants, or rabbits.

Once you’ve mastered your hunting skills, you can start thinking about big game.

You should also know which are the hardest animals to hunt, and whether you have the possibility to hunt them or not.

This category includes leopards, mountain goats, elk, eland, cape buffalos, roans & sables, and bears. 

Should you hunt alone?

This is entirely up to you. Solo hunting can be a great way to reconnect with nature and be alone with your thoughts.

It also helps you hone your stalking, shooting, and tracking skills.

Being alone also means that you have to be more careful and always on the alert in case of something happening.

Let’s put it this way: if you want to enjoy the hunting experience, it’s better to go solo hunting. If you want to play it safe, it’s better to choose to hunt with a group of people.

All in all, if you’re ready to go into the wild and hunt, you should make sure you have all your basics covered before that. Get a hunter education course, if necessary, get your hunting licence, and enroll in a Mentorship program.

Get the right gear and learn how to cover your scent, how to stay still, and have patience.

You might not have had hunting as a tradition in your family, but if you get into it, you can transform it into a tradition that you’ll pass down to the next generations. No pressure. :)

  

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