Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
What is it? In other states this is often called a Hunter Education Deferral Program. Essentially an Apprentice Hunter Validation enables an individual who is normally required to have a Firearms Safety (FAS) Certificate, but does not have one, to try hunting two license years in a lifetime under the supervision of a licensed adult hunter.
When is a Firearms Safety Certificate or Apprentice Hunter Validation required? Anyone born after 1979 is required to have a FAS Certificate to hunt with a firearm, except youth age 12 and under may hunt small game (11 and under for turkeys) without a Firearms Safety Certificate/Apprentice Hunter Validation as long as a parent or guardian accompanies them.
Who is eligible to receive one? Both Minnesota residents and non-residents are eligible.
Why is the Apprentice Hunter Validation program needed? Some communities have more demand for FAS classes than their volunteer instructors can provide, and youths are unable to get into classes or have to go onto a waiting list. Some parents and their kids procrastinate, and when hunting season approaches there are no longer classes available. Most people have very busy schedules. Many adults are getting into hunting because of their friends and spouses, but are unaware of the FAS requirement. Some potential new hunters are not sure if they will like hunting, and would like to try it before they commit to undertaking a training program.
What restrictions are there for individuals hunting with an Apprentice Hunter Validation? An Apprentice Hunter must be accompanied by a licensed adult and other Apprentice Hunters cannot “accompany” each other. Accompanied is defined as being close enough to each other to permit “uninterrupted visual contact and unaided verbal communication.” Apprentice hunters may hunt deer, wild turkey and small game.
Will this diminish hunting safety in Minnesota, or undermine the Firearms Safety Hunter Education Program? No. Data from the International Hunter Education Association indicates that mentored hunters are as safe as other hunters, and hunting continues to get safer thanks primarily to 50 years of hunter education programs. Rather than undermine FAS and hunter education, this program will spark more interest in the program, as newly recruited Apprentice Hunters will be required to get their FAS certificates to continue hunting.
How long is an Apprentice Hunter Validation good for? An Apprentice Hunter Validation can be purchased two license years in a lifetime. A license year runs from March 1 to the end of February.
How much does it cost? $3.50 per license year.
How do I get one? You will be able to purchase the Apprentice Hunter Validation at an ELS vendor. The license code is 199. You will need to acquire the Validation prior to purchasing any hunting licenses.
What other licenses do I need? You need to purchase and have in possession all licenses and stamps that you would normally be required to possess.
How do I keep hunting after my Apprentice Hunter Validation expires? You will need to complete a Firearms Safety Hunter Education Course and get your certification. Youth 11-15 have two options; attend a traditional classroom course or an approved online course and range and field day. Adults (16 and older) may attend a traditional class, an 18-hour Advanced Hunter Education Course, an approved online course or a home-study course. More information is available on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website.