Since federal law does not specify minimum age youth can hunt it is up to each state to set the age limit for hunting license and specify what ages can youth hunt supervised and alone.
This article is for information only and is not a legal advice. Please check current state regulations before taking your kid hunting, because the laws are diverse.
Most of the information here applies to residents only and big-game, deer hunting unless otherwise stated. Make sure to visit the official state pages to be aware of:
- Laws regarding different game and hunting weapons. Small game, big game, waterfowl hunting often have different age limits and so do different weapons ( rifle, crossbow, compound bow )
- The legal definition of supervised hunt in each state. It can be within hearing distance, close enough to control the firearm at all times etc.
Summary of State Hunting Laws
Supervised Big-game hunting
1) According to our research there are 29 states that allow kids to hunt supervised at any age
Hunting Big-game alone
2) Breakdown of states minimum age for hunting big-game alone:
* Those states with no minimum hunting age usually require completion of hunter education course and some states have minimum age for that. Generally it’s recommended to be around 10 years of age to understand everything taught in the course.
|Age to hunt big-game alone||Number of States||States|
|No limit specified*||6||Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, New Mexico, Vermont, Washington|
|6 years of age||1||Arkansas|
|9 years of age||1||Texas|
|10 years of age||3||Alaska, Arizona, Tennessee|
|11 years of age||2||Missouri, Oklahoma|
|12 years of age||8||California, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Wisconsin
|14 years of age||6||Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Wyoming|
|15 years of age||4||Massachusetts, Nebraska, Rhode Island, West Virginia|
|16 years of age||18||Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina. North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah|
Let us know if there is a mistake in our research, some states do not explicitly state their minimum hunting age.
- No minimum age limit specified
- All license buyers ( except under 16 ) born after August 1, 1977 must successfully complete an approved hunter education course
- Various supervised youth hunts available for those under 16 years of age
- Under 10 years of age must hunt supervised
- Youth 10-15 years of age can hunt supervised OR complete hunter education course and hunt alone
- 16 and over must complete hunter education course to hunt
- At least 10 years of age to hunt big game
- Must have a valid hunter education certificate through the age of 10 to 13 to hunt big game
- Under 10-year old’s can hunt wildlife other than big game, when accompanied by properly licensed and over 18-year old person.
- Must be at least 6 to hunt
- Anyone born after 1968 must complete a hunter education course and carry a valid hunter education card to hunt in Arkansas
- Youth under 16 can hunt supervised without needing hunter education
- No minimum age requirement for purchasing a hunting license if the applicant can show proof of hunter education.
- Most big-game hunting tags are available for youths at least 12 years of age
- For hunting big game, youth must be at least 12 years of age and meet hunter education requirements.
- All persons under 16 must be supervised.
- No age limit for small game, but must pass hunter education.
- Minimum age to hunt is 12
- Ages 12 through 15 can only hunt supervised
- Must pass Connecticut Conservation Education/Firearms Safety (CE/FS) course
- Youths 10 and older can take the hunter education course and hunt with licensed adult who is 18 ( 21 in some cases ) years of age.
- Atleast 16 years of age to buy adult hunting license and hunt alone
- 16 years old and have completed a Hunter’s Safety Course to hunt alone
- Youth under 16 can hunt supervised with a licensed adult 21 years of age or older
- Mentored youth hunting programs: Young men and women between 12 and 17 years old who are accompanied by a parent or guardian.
- Under 16 years of age who have not completed hunter education course can only hunt supervised
- Youths 12–15 years of age can hunt alone after successfully completing a hunter education course.
- 16–25 are required to have a hunter education card when purchasing a season hunting license
- 16 years old to hunt alone
- Supervised youth hunts for ages under 15 who possess a hunting license
- Be 16 years of age ( or 10 when accompanied by adult ) to take hunter required hunter education class
- 10 years old for supervised hunting, and 12 years old to hunt big game alone.
- Hunter education course needed
- Hunters born on or after Jan. 1, 1980 must show proof that they have successfully completed a Hunter Education Course
- Youth ages 18 or under can hunt without completing hunters safety course when under direct supervision of licensed adult over 21 years of age
- Hunter education course required for anyone who was born on or after December 31, 1986 to get a hunting license in Indiana.
- Youth hunts for ages 17 or younger are supervised
- Can buy apprentice hunting license without having to take a hunter education class
- 11 years old or older may enroll in a hunter education course which will become valid on that person’s 12th birthday
- Residents under 12 can only hunt when supervised by licensed adult hunter
- 12 years of age to hunt alone if completed hunter education course (Other restrictions may apply).
- 15 and younger, may hunt without hunter education if directly supervised by someone 18 or older.
- Youth hunting licenses available for ages 12-15 after completing hunter education
- Persons 15 and under must be accompanied by adult when hunting big game
- License is not required for those who are under 12 years of age ( except for elk )
- Properly licensed 16-17 years old and over 12 years old youths who have completed hunter education course can hunt without supervision
- Those under 16 can hunt without completing hunter education only when supervised
- Youth ages 15 or under can only hunt if supervised
- 16 and over can buy adult hunting license to hunt alone after completing hunter education course
- 15 years of age and below can only hunt with participating adult
- Must complete an approved hunter education course unless you have previously hunted there prior to July 1, 1977.
- 12 – 14 year old can hunt supervised with a licensed adult
- Youth ages 15 -17 can buy minor hunting license with a letter of consent from parent and if completed hunter education course
- Youth ages 10 to 16 who hunt deer, bear, elk must be supervised
- Hunter education required if born after Jan. 1, 1960
- Mentored Youth Hunting program enables kids under 10 to hunt
- Under 13 years old must be accompanied by a parent or guardian while hunting
- Youth are permitted to hunt alone beginning at age 14, provided the person possesses a firearms safety certificate.
- Hunter Education is required for all hunters born after December 31, 1979 who wish to purchase a big or small game Minnesota hunting license
- Persons under the age of 12 must be in the presence and under direct supervision of a licensed or exempt hunter at least 21 year of age when the child is hunting.
- Persons 12-16 must pass hunter education course to hunt alone
- Ages over 10 are required to pass hunter education to hunt alone
- Youths ages 15 and below can hunt supervised without completing hunter education course
- Youths who have completed Hunter Education and will turn 12 years of age before January 16 can get a hunting license
- A youth under 14 years of age must be under supervision of adult at least 18 years old to carry or use firearm in public
- Apprentice Hunter Program enables youths age 10-17 hunt without completing hunter education
- Youths 11 years of age and below can hunt supervised with licensed hunter at least 19 years old
- Deer, elk, antelope, sheep hunters under age 15 must hunt supervised
- Completion of a Firearm Hunter Education course is required for all Nebraska hunters age 12 and above who hunt any species with a firearm or air gun
- Must be at least 12 and have completed hunter safety course to hunt big-game supervised
- 14 and older, who have a valid license, and have received parental permission can hunt alone
- Kids under the age of 11 can only attend hunter safety course with an adult
- No minimum age
- Youths 16 years of age and below must hunt with a licensed adult 18 years or older
- Hunter education course not required under 16 years of age
- Youths ages 10–13 can hunt with a free youth license when supervised by properly licensed adult ages 21 or older
- Age limit for hunting alone: 14 years old and up
- A completed hunter education course is required for obtaining a license
- No minimum age to hunt, but everyone under 18 years of age must get the hunter education number
- Mentored-Youth program allows youth to hunt supervised after getting New Mexico Mentored-Youth Hunter number
- Ages 12-13 can hunt small game when accompanied by adult 18 years of age
- Ages 14-15 can hunt big game when accompanied by adult 21 years of age
- Persons ages 16-17 who hunt the big game first time must be accompanied by adult 18 years of age for the first season
- Must have hunter education certificate or previous hunting license
- Youths 12 – 15 who completed a hunting safety course can hunt supervised
- 12 years of age to hunt deer
- Youth ages 15 and below can hunt supervised after passing hunter education course
- Under 12 years of age can hunt without taking hunter course
- Must be atleast 16 to hunt alone
- From 10 years of age can start hunting supervised
- Hunter education certification required
- Hunting supervised: 10 years and below must complete hunter education and be accompanied by a licensed hunter 21 or older.
- Hunting alone: Over 10 years old after successfully completing hunter education and buying a license.
- Must be at least 12 to hunt big game
- Hunting supervised: 13 years and younger with a person 21 years of age or older
- 17 years and younger must take and pass a Hunter Education Class before hunting except those who participate in Mentor Youth Hunter program
- Youths 12 – 15 years old or Junior license holders must hunt supervised
- Mentored youth hunting program for ages under 12
- Hunter-trapper education course required
- Youth 12 – 14 years of age can hunt supervised with a licensed hunter age 21 or older
- Hunter safety course must be completed
- Youth hunting days for those under 15 years of age and below must be accompanied by adult 21 years of age or older
- All hunters born after June 30, 1979, must complete a hunter education course
- Residents who are at least 12 years old may apply for a hunting license
- Hunters under 16 years of age must be accompanied by an unarmed adult and pass the HuntSAFE program
- 16 to 18 are required to purchase the Junior Combination License
- Youth hunters 10 years of age or older need a Hunter Education certificate
- Youth hunts for ages 6-16 must be supervised with an adult at least 21 years of age
- Under 9 years of age you must accompanied with a person who is at least 17 and is licensed to hunt in Texas
- 9-16 you can hunt alone if you pass the hunter education course
- Minimum age to hunt big game: 12
- Youth under 16 years of age can hunt big game with an adult 21 years old and up
- Anyone born after Dec. 31, 1965 must complete a DWR approved Hunter Education course
- A person under age 16 must have his or her parent or guardian sign in the presence of an issuing agent to obtain a hunting license.
- Youths 15 or under can participate in youth hunts
- Must complete the hunter education program
- Hunter under 12 years of age must be accompanied by a licensed adult
- Ages 12 to 15 may purchase a junior hunting license after passing hunter education course
- If youth completes hunter education he can hunt alone at any age, unless participating in youth hunts that require adult supervision
- Youth hunts available for ages 8-17, where hunters 8-14 years of age must be supervised by a licensed adult
- Hunters born after Jan. 1, 1975 must successfully complete a certified hunter education course.
- Can obtain junior hunting license at the age of 12 after passing hunter education course
- No age limit for mentored hunts
- Ages 12 to 17 may purchase a youth hunting license to hunt big game
- Persons under 14 must have their big game license co-signed by parent and be accompanied by person over 18 years of age when hunting
- Individuals born after Jan. 1, 1966 must have a certificate of completion of a firearm safety course
Related: Should You Wear Ear Protection When Hunting? (What Kind?)
Featured image credit to: Brenda Denton
WV has no minimum age limit for regular season hunting, the minimum age restrictions apply to youth hunting dates only. Odd but that’s how the regs are so we go by them. My son took his first WV deer at age 5 no issues during the checking process at all however he wasn’t able to participate in YOUTH season because he was under age. Minimum age for hunter Safety program is 10 accompanied by adult at age 12 they can participate alone and be picked up after. We could all use a refresher at times I think though as ive seen what people post on FB.
We will soon update the article. The article was last updated January 11, 2018 so it might be outdated in some parts. Always check your state regulations for up to date hunting age limits.
The only minimum in Maine is for Moose hunting 10 years old, otherwise no minimum
just must be with adult if 16 or younger.
Can a 13 year old go hunting alone in Wisconsin if they have done their Hunter safety?
Arkansas 6 years old?
Does it work?
Seems a lil young overall there are a few kids
Fired up to go at that age, I know I was.
My household has fanatical hunters so there was intense interest in hunting at age 5. Two of my kids were very advanced readers by age six, one was average. Couple those details with a family rule that no one touches a gun or shoots a gun until they successfully pass hunter safety and that they cannot hunt with a bow or crossbow without archery safety, they were motivated.
At age six they began shooting. By age 7 they were harvesting big game with firearms. By 8 they were hunting with bows.
One of them is less interested now but wants to go occasionally. Another hunts everything possible and discusses hunting 10-20x per day.
For longevity, I’m not sure if all three will stick with it. It matters little, they are all well informed conservationists and they know how to safely handle weapons. That’s all you can ask for in a youth. Only one of them is a forever hunter with absolute certainty with two record book species of big game by the age of 9 because the kid is obsessed.
You can’t predict retention or deactivation rates in kids but failing to get them exposed in involved does predict a likely anti-hunter or video game expert.
Every time a kid hunts they convert 100 school kids into hunting-neutral or hunting-positive back at school when they discuss the experiences. That’s the most valuable piece of the story that is valuable to conservation’s future. Hunting is perceived by their classmates as normal because they know kids that do it.