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Apprentice Hunting License

Virginians interested in learning how to hunt and Virginia hunters eager to share their sport with friends and family now have a way to make it easier to pair up!

An apprentice license can be purchased by a new hunter before successfully completing the Department’s hunter education course. However, apprentice hunters are reminded they still have to comply with this education requirement before legally purchasing a state resident or nonresident basic hunting license.

Completion of the hunter education course can take place at any point during the two-year period.

Apprentice Hunters

Allows persons holding an apprentice hunting license to hunt unsupervised if they have successfully completed a hunter education course. Upon completion of hunter education, unless otherwise required by law to be supervised as in the case of hunting on a youth/apprentice hunting day where, by Department regulation, apprentice hunters must be supervised by a licensed or an exempt licensed adult, the apprentice hunting licensee may hunt unsupervised subject to the requirements of applicable state law and regulations. You must carry proof of hunter education while hunting unsupervised.

What are you waiting for? Call toll-free 1-866-721-6911 for more information.

Virginia Apprentice Hunting License Facts

  • The new apprentice hunting license serves as a first-time Virginia resident or nonresident hunting license and is good for two years.
  • An important safety feature of the new license is that the apprentice hunter must be accompanied and directly supervised by a hunter possessing a valid Virginia hunting license who is an adult over age 18 (the mentor hunter). “Directly supervised” is defined in the new legislation as “when a person over 18 maintains a close visual and verbal contact with, provides adequate direction to, and can immediately assume control of the firearm from the apprentice hunter.” This direct supervision requirement is in place because the apprentice hunter will not have had to meet the hunter education requirement as a condition of purchasing the apprentice license.
  • The apprentice license does not qualify the holder to purchase a regular hunting license, nor exempt the holder from compliance with Department regulations. A hunter education course must be successfully completed to obtain a regular hunting license.
  • A deer and turkey and/or bear license (depending on the species being hunted) and all applicable stamps or permits are required in addition to the apprentice license.
  • Previous Virginia resident and nonresident hunting license holders may not use an apprentice license.

Mentoring Guidelines

  • Emphasize the quality of the experience and not the harvest.
  • Demonstrate good sportsmanship.
  • Know your partner’s endurance level and attention span during the outdoor experience.
  • Make it an enjoyable experience.
  • Make preparations ahead of the experience and share the pre-plan (scouting the area, weather forecast, permission if required, etc.).
  • Let someone know your plan for the adventure; where you are planning to go and when you are planning to return.
  • Be prepared in case of emergencies.
  • Proper clothing may be important factors during extreme hot or cold weather conditions.
  • Comply with all laws, regulations and license requirements.
  • Make preparations for another outdoor adventure, while the thrill of the hunt is still fresh.