If you’ve never been hunting, it can be difficult to decide if it’s a hobby you’ll enjoy for a lifetime. Fortunately, there is an easy way to find out where your passion lies this fall. New hunters can take advantage of a special hunter mentorship program to get afield before committing to the required hunter education course.
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department Hunter Mentor program gives new hunters or those who have been unable to attend a hunter education course the opportunity to hunt under the close guidance of an experienced mentor.
“Fall is a busy time for hunter education courses and seats fill quickly before the majority of big game seasons open. The best time to take a hunter education class is in the winter or spring, with plenty of time before hunting season,” said George Oberstadt, Game and Fish hunter education coordinator. “This special hunter mentor program creates opportunities for those potentially interested in hunting to experience a hunt and complete a hunter education course before the start of the next season.”
Completion of a hunter education course is a requirement to hunt in Wyoming if you were born after 1966. But the Hunter Mentor program allows for a temporary exemption.
“Many of the people who take advantage of this opportunity enroll in a hunter education class immediately after using the program while a number of others take a hunter education course within a few years of being mentored,” Oberstadt said.
Anyone who plans to hunt in Wyoming can participate in the Hunter Mentor program, but youth must be at least 12 years old to hunt big game. Mentors and mentees can enroll in the program prior to hunting on the Game and Fish Hunter Education website.
To qualify as a mentor, hunters must:
• Be at least 18 years old
• Possess a valid hunter education certificate and Wyoming hunting license while in the field with the mentee
• Sign the mentee’s special authorization certificate
• Document hunting license type/number on the mentee’s special authorization certificate
• Supervise only one mentee at a time in the field. A hunter may mentor multiple immediate family members.
• Maintain direct supervision, within sight and direct voice contact, of the mentee who is hunting at all times while in the field
Mentors are responsible for making sure their mentees conduct themselves in a safe, legal, ethical and responsible manner at all times. The mentor is responsible for making sure his or her mentee understands the appropriate hunting regulations, safe hunting practices and ethical considerations during any mentored hunting experience.