What is an Apprentice Hunting License?
An apprentice hunting license, also called a mentored hunting license, allows a person to try hunting prior to the completion of hunter education as long as they are under the direct supervision of an experienced mentor.
This concept is called "Try Before You Buy." It is the cornerstone of the Families Afield program.
Thirty-three states sell Apprentice or Mentored Hunting Licenses. Two states adopted the alternative approach of simply lowering minimum hunting ages to attract more young hunters.
The apprentice license is effective at attracting new hunters of all ages in a remarkably safe manner. Click HERE for safety information.
Apprentice Hunting Creates New Hunters: 1 Million Apprentice Licenses Sold
From 2006 — 2012, more than 1,006,269 apprentice licenses were sold across the United States. Each year, the number of apprentices continues to increase as states expand their apprentice programs, and additional states enact Families Afield style legislation or regulations.
Aren't Apprentice Hunters Just People Who Would Have Hunted Anyways Without an Apprentice License?
Some have suggested that Families Afield attracts apprentice license buyers who would have become hunters anyways. Research from Minnesota shows that is true for less than 1/4th of apprentice hunters in the state. The data makes it clear that without apprentice hunting to help recruit new hunters, the majority of those individuals would have not hunted, and another 26% report that they are not sure if they would have or not without the new license.
Apprentice Hunters Take Hunter Education:
The program is working! Research from the Ohio Division of Wildlife shows that once Apprentice hunters are hooked, they voluntarily transition to becoming a fully licensed hunter by taking Hunter Education before it's required by law.