As fall hunting seasons open, the South Game, Fish and Parks Department is reminding hunters that the South Dakota Legislature and the GFP Commission have eliminated the minimum-age restrictions for resident youth hunting. That means any resident child is eligible to hunt with a mentor.
While there is no minimum age for mentored hunters, they must not be older than 15 years of age while hunting without a license. Resident mentored hunters are not required to be hunter safety certified. However, they must be accompanied by an unarmed parent, guardian or designated mentor who is at least 18 years old.
Mentors must be residents who are hunter safety certified. Mentors are required to have their HuntSAFE card on them and must be within immediate control and supervision of the mentored hunter.
Mentors must also be properly licensed for the season the youth hunter is hunting. For example, if a youth hunter is hunting pheasants, the mentor needs to have a small-game license.
For big-game hunting, mentors can apply for a mentored license in their own name, but it will not affect their eligibility to apply for their own big-game licenses. Because there are no youth licenses for antelope or fall turkey, youth hunters ages 16 and under are eligible for mentored licenses for these seasons, even if they have a HuntSAFE certification.
For more information on mentored and youth hunting, go online to gfp.sd.gov/youth-mentored/.