For several years now, Pennsylvania hunters have been able to mentor youths while hunting for several species of game birds and animals. Pennsylvania was the first state to adopt a Mentored Youth Hunting Program, and the program has enjoyed a growing success as adults take young hunters under their wing and spend valuable time outdoors sharing teaching, and building relationships. Mentored youth hunters are now permitted, under the watchful eye of their adult mentor, to hunt for squirrels, groundhogs, coyotes, antlered and antlerless deer, and turkeys — with some restrictions outlined in the Pennsylvania Hunting and Trapping Digest.
Now, each hunting season, hundreds of youths join the ranks of their fellow hunters, helping to ensure that the hunting heritage will live on for generations to come. And, while the Mentored Youth Hunting Program has had a definite and positive influence in our hunting world, there has been a lack of an equal opportunity for another, perhaps even larger group of potential hunters – that is, the adults who have shown interest in participating in hunting.
Many adults have been curious about hunting but, for one valid reason or another, simply have not experienced what so many active hunters have enjoyed every time they go afield. Fortunately, for those adults interested in trying hunting for the first time, and as an aid to the securing of the future of hunting in our state, adults can now also participate in mentored hunting. So, just how has this program been geared to bring new adult hunters into our fold?
It is designed to add to the ranks of hunters by allowing first-time hunters 18 years old and older to participate and learn about hunting through the experience of a licensed hunting mentor. Adults obtaining a permit through the program would be able to take part in hunting activities without first needing to take the basic Hunter-Trapper Education course.
Those who have never previously held a hunting license in Pennsylvania or another state or nation are eligible to participate in the program. Mentored adult hunting permits are available for a total of three consecutive, unbroken license years, after which an applicable adult license is required.
A mentored adult can hunt squirrels, woodchucks, ruffed grouse, rabbits, pheasants, bobwhite quail, hares, porcupines, crows, coyotes, antlerless deer, and wild turkeys – with some applicable restrictions. The transfer of one antlerless license or one fall turkey tag by a mentor is defined in detail in the Pennsylvania Hunting and Trapping Digest. The mentored adult must tag and report deer and turkey harvests as described in the Digest.
To promote safe gun handling and safe hunting, the mentored adult must hunt within the eyesight of his or her adult mentor and at a proximity close enough for verbal instruction and guidance to be easily understood. A mentor may not accompany more than one mentored adult at any given time. A mentor may not accompany a junior hunter or a mentored youth hunter in addition to a mentored adult. Further, the mentor and mentored adult must be in compliance with fluorescent orange requirements for the species they are hunting.
The mentored adult may be either a resident or a nonresident of the state of Pennsylvania. The cost of the license for a resident is $20.70, and the cost of the license for a nonresident is $101.70.
So there you have it.
As a licensed adult hunter in Pennsylvania, you now have the opportunity to introduce both youth and adults into our hunting world. I would go one step further by saying that you not only have the opportunity, but you have an obligation to mentor other people into hunting. It is only by doing so that you will help ensure the hunting heritage that you enjoy will live on for generations to come. By taking the time to mentor a youth or an adult, you will enjoy the rewarding experience of bringing new hunters into our fold and developing a strong bond of friendship with the new hunter that can last for a lifetime.