Resident Mentored Hunt

The mentored hunting program is designed so parents can make the decision on when their child is ready to go hunting for the first time. By emphasizing one-on-one interaction between the beginning hunter and the experienced hunter, safety, respect for wildlife and solid conservation ethics are passed to the conservation leaders of tomorrow.

Whether you are a parent or a mentor participating in this program, thank you for taking the time to hunt with a child. By sharing a safe, ethical and fun hunt with a young person, the hunting tradition is sure to be passed on to future generations.

Applicants may purchase a license throughout the season by applying to the License Office in Pierre either online or through the mail. Please allow ample time (7-10 business days) for the license to be processed and mailed to you before you leave for your hunt. These licenses are not sold at any other GFP office.

Mentored Hunt -
Big Game Application

(Available - February )
(First Deadline - No deadline )
View Application

Definitions

Mentored Hunter

Any resident youth, at least 10 years of age but less than 16 years of age, that is not required to possess a hunting license as long as accompanied by a hunting mentor while in the field hunting.

Requirements
  • Residents only
  • At least 10 years of age and less than 16 years of age
  • No license required for the mentored hunter
  • No hunter education class required
  • Must be accompanied by unarmed mentor

Mentor

Any resident parent/guardian or assigned competent adult that accompanies a youth under the provisions of SDCL 41-6-81 is a hunting mentor.

Requirements
  • Residents only
  • Must be unarmed except for permitted concealed handgun
  • Must be at least 18 years of age
  • Must be hunter education certified and carry certification in the field during the mentored hunt
  • Shall possess a valid hunting license for the game being hunted
  • Must be in immediate contact and direct supervision of the mentored hunter
  • If not the parent, must possess written permission from the parent

Rules / Regulations

Small Game Hunting

  • May hunt any open small game season
  • For every mentored hunter, there must be a designated mentor
  • Must be unarmed except for permitted concealed handgun
  • Hunting party may not exceed six people (including mentors and mentored hunters)
  • Mentored hunts involving migratory game birds will require the mentor to possess all required licenses and certifications for that specific season or species (may include Federal Waterfowl Stamp and/or Migratory Bird Certification)
  • The combined number of animals taken or possessed by the mentored hunter and the hunting mentor may not exceed the number of animals authorized under licenses held by the adult mentor
  • Game taken by a mentored hunter counts towards the mentors daily limit

Big Game Hunting

  • For every mentored hunter, there must be a designated mentor
  • Hunting party may not exceed six people (including mentors and mentored hunters)
  • Must be unarmed except for permitted concealed handgun
  • Mentor deer, antelope, and turkey licenses can only be purchased by the parent and/or guardian
  • Big game licenses for mentored hunts include antlerless deer, doe/fawn antelope and spring and fall turkey
  • The mentor must have in their possession the mentored hunting license and the mentor must sign the license when the animal is harvested
  • If a mentored deer, antelope, or turkey license is purchased for a mentored hunter, that mentored hunter is ineligible to purchase a license for the respective regular youth deer, antelope and archery antelope, fall and spring turkey season
  • The purchase of a big game mentored hunting license does not affect the eligibility of the parent/guardian for any other hunting license
  • Mentored Deer licensees must follow the unit, date and equipment restrictions for the Youth Deer season
  • Mentored Antelope licensees must follow the unit, date and equipment restrictions for the Archery Antelope and Firearms Antelope seasons
  • Mentored Fall Turkey licensees must follow the unit, date and equipment restrictions for the Fall Turkey season

Things to Remember for Mentored Hunts

  1. Safety First: Treat every firearm as if it is loaded, practice muzzle control, and be absolutely sure of the target. Safety is the primary concern when youth are involved in hunting.
  2. Practice: Practicing shooting skills before the hunt eases fears , reduces wounding loss, and builds confidence.
  3. Have Fun & Be Positive: Success is the hunt, not the kill.
  4. Get Involved: Participate in nature-oriented activities and study wildlife behavior within their habitat.
  5. Give All Your Attention to the Youth: Mentoring is about the youth, not about the adult.
  6. Be aware of their age: Physical stamina and mental maturity is different for youth. Consider short hunts and talk beforehand about field dressing animals.
  7. Patience: Youth don't always get it right the first time. Practice CPR: Compliment, Positive correction, Review.
  8. Listen and Talk: Listen and address any concerns the youth may have before the hunt. Talk to the youth about their connection to nature and respect for habitat and wildlife.
  9. Use Appropriate Equipment: Hunting gear is not one size fits all. Be sure to get the correct sizes.
  10. No Pressure: Sometimes the best shot is no shot. The only good shot is one the youth is comfortable with.
  11. Use Good Judgment: If the youth is not ready for hunting, having the youth observe a hunt is a great option.