Utah's Hunter Mentoring Program
This popular program allows a young person to share a mentor's hunting permit.
The program, launched in 2014, has been extremely popular and, as a result, the Utah Legislature and Utah Wildlife Board approved the following changes in 2017:
- Expanding mentoring opportunities beyond family
- Allowing mentors to share most hunting permits
- Increasing the number of youth that can be mentored on a single permit
- Allowing youth to go on mentored hunts and also hunt on permits they draw
- Simplifying age requirements for all participants
These changes will expand the program and provide additional high-quality mentored hunting opportunities to Utah’s youth. By participating in the program, you can help build the next generation of Utah hunters and teach them to be safe and ethical in the field.
Any qualifying adult (age 21 or older) can mentor up to four resident youth, as long as their parents or legal guardians provide written permission on the application.
Permits that are now eligible for sharing under the Hunter Mentoring program include all big game and antlerless permits as well as black bear, cougar, turkey, greater sage-grouse and sharp-tailed grouse permits. The only permits that are not eligible are swan and sandhill crane, which are subject to conflicting federal regulations.
To participate, adult mentors must apply (in person or by mail) for themselves and up to four qualifying minors. Mentors must also meet all program requirements.
Qualifying mentors can be residents or nonresidents, but they must also:
- Be at least 21 years old when applying for the program
- Possess a valid permit.
- Have written permission from a minor's parent or legal guardian in order to serve as a mentor.
- Comply with Utah's hunting regulations.
- Not receive any form of compensation for mentoring.
Note: If you have a trial hunting authorization, you may not serve as a mentor in this program.
Qualifying minors must:
- Be under the age of 18 when applying for the program and meet the specific age requirements for the species they hope to hunt. (Specifically, a youth must be at least 12 years old to hunt big game or antlerless animals. To hunt cougar or black bear, a youth must be at least 12 years old by the end of the calendar year in which they obtained the permit.)
- Possess a valid Utah Hunter Education number or a trial hunting authorization.
- Have written permission from a parent or legal guardian.
- Be a Utah resident.
Allowing mentored youth to also hunt on permits they draw
Although youth are limited to one mentored hunt of the same species and sex per year, they may also hunt on any permits they personally draw.
For example, Paul draws a limited-entry buck deer permit and chooses to mentor his granddaughter, Eva, on the hunt. Eva has also drawn a general-season buck deer permit. She can legally go on both deer hunts because one of them is a mentored opportunity. She would not be allowed, however, to go on another mentored hunt for a buck deer during the same hunt year.
In the field
Once a mentor and up to four minors have been approved for the program, the mentor will be issued a hunting authorization that allows them to share their permit with the qualifying minors.
IMPORTANT: Only one of those minors may be mentored at a time, and only one animal may be harvested per permit.
While hunting, the mentor and minor must remain close enough to communicate in person, by voice or through hand signals.
Only the mentor and the youth being mentored may carry firearms in the field, and either the mentor or the minor may fill the permit.
For example, Madison draws a general-season deer permit and wants to mentor her two nephews during the hunt. She must first enroll in the program with both children (after obtaining written permission from their parents), and then she can take them hunting during the season listed on the permit. She is only allowed to mentor one of the boys at a time. As soon as someone — either Madison or one of the boys — harvests the species listed on the permit, the hunt must end.
After the hunt
Because the mentor is the individual who originally drew the permit, he or she will forfeit any applicable bonus points or preference points. Likewise, any waiting periods will also be applied to the mentor.
Participating in the program
Don’t risk a ticket!
The Utah Hunter Mentoring program holds the potential for many positive memories. Don’t ruin your hunt by receiving a citation for not following the law.
Some of the most common violations seen in the program are as follows:
- Neglecting to enroll in the program. Before you can share your permit with a youth, you must both be officially enrolled in the Hunter Mentoring program. That requires you to download the application well in advance of your hunt. Then, you must return the completed application to a Division office.
- Allowing the minor to hunt without the mentor present. The minor and mentor must stay together throughout the hunt. The mentor is the permit holder and is legally required to be with the minor when an animal is harvested and tagged.
- Exchanging mentors or minors. The minor and mentor who enrolled together must hunt together. You cannot trade mentors or minors with others in your hunting group. Minors are breaking the law if they harvest multiple animals of the same species with multiple mentors — and you could be held accountable.
If you have questions about how the Hunter Mentoring program works, don’t just take your best guess. See the answers to common questions about the Utah Hunter Mentoring Program or call a Division office.