A common question we hear is whether or not someone is allowed to accompany a hunter.
The short answer is most likely yes, but there are some very important things you need to know before doing so.
If you do not follow regulations, you run the risk of getting into serious trouble.
Can I Go Hunting with Someone Without a License?
It is fairly common for non hunters to accompany hunters while hunting. An example is when someone pays a guide and only one member of the party has a tag for the animal they are hunting.
The gray area is when it comes to “helping” the person doing the hunting. This will likely warrant more research on your part but here is the basic gist.
- The non hunter must not be in possession of a weapon. There are often questions if the non hunter can carry a sidearm. This is a major area of debate and many game wardens are likely going to give you a hard time. Your best bet is to contact your states fish and game department ahead of time and find out if they say it is okay.
- If you help the person doing the hunting in any way, you could be in violation depending on the state. For example, in New York: “A child or other person without a hunting license may accompany you while hunting, but there are restrictions. The child or unlicensed person cannot take part in any aspect of the hunt, including calling, driving/scaring game or possessing a firearm.”
- This includes helping:
- field dress the animal
- carry the animal
- spot the animal
- carrying decoys
- carrying guns or ammo
We would go as far to suggest that you don’t even carry binoculars unless you have verified it is okay to do so in your area.
At bare minimum, it is a good idea that anyone accompanying the hunter has taken their hunter safety class so they are familiar with basic hunter safety and etiquette. And if they already have their hunter safety certificate, they may as well just purchase a license.
Some states offer an apprentice license which is usually very inexpensive (<$10).
If you are looking to go hunting with someone without a license, it is most likely okay that you do so. You need to be careful about participating in any of the hunting activities and it is best that you contact your local fish and game department to confirm that you won’t be breaking any regulations.