Apprenticeship license available in August
Aspiring apprentice hunters who tried to apply for a deer tag earlier this month when applications were due may have been a bit confused when they found out they couldn't.
That's because a new law, which allows those 16 years old or older who haven't completed the hunter education course to hunt deer and upland game for one year if accompanied by an experienced hunter, doesn't take affect until Aug. 1.
"We've had a number of people asking questions about it and a number of people that wanted to use it right away," said Paul Schadewald, administrative services division chief for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department. "There wasn't an emergency clause on it so out of practicality we're going with Aug. 1."
The apprentice hunter validation is good for one year. If the individual wants to continue hunting they must take the hunter education course.
After Aug. 1, those who qualify for the apprenticeship hunter validation will be able log on to the Game and Fish Web site at gf.nd.gov/licenses, and once there the aspiring hunter will be able to apply like everyone else, but will identify themselves as an apprentice hunter.
Schadewald said the process will make it easier for Game and Fish to manage because it will be simple to keep track of who has used their apprenticeship validation in the past.
The deer lottery finishes in mid-July so a buck tag for apprentices in 2009 will likely be impossible.
"We're not going to have a buck tag for them," Schadewald said. "They should be able to get a doe tag, they might be whitetail."
But even if they don't get a buck tag this year, Schadewald said they can take the hunter education course and apply again next year, adding apprentice hunters will be able to apply in time for the lottery in 2010.
Game and Fish believes apprenticeship hunting will be a good tool for hunter recruitment, Schadewald said.
"What it does is gives some people a way to see if they like hunting. ... that's the intent, to have first-time hunters go out and give it a try and then if they like it they can come back in and take the hunter education course," Schadewald said. "It's been tried in a variety of other states and is deemed to be, they think it's pretty successful so we're willing to give it a try here in North Dakota."