Louisiana hunters of all ages now required to have valid license
The 2021 Louisiana Legislature approved major changes in licensing fees for the state’s sportsmen, mainly designed at bringing in more revenue to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. But part of House Bill 691 involving young hunters escaped most residents.
Starting June 1, 2022 hunters under the age of 18 must have a valid, original “youth license” to hunt deer and turkeys in the state. The license is $5 and comes with deer and turkey tags. The new requirements also affect eligibility for youth lottery hunts on as many as 12 wildlife management areas during the next season. The license is not needed for youth hunting squirrels, rabbits or woodcock. Those youth who already have a lifetime license are not affected.
You can see a video of LDWF Undersecretary for Management and Finance Bryan McClinton explaining some of the changes on the LDWF Facebook page in “Conservation Minutes” posted Feb. 21. It is important that young hunters and their parents understand and follow the new regulations.
“Yes, the youth license was developed as part of house bill 691,”McClinton told Louisiana Sportsman. “It is only required for youths who are deer and turkey hunting and require deer and turkey tags.”
Unlike adult hunters, young hunters won’t need an ID to buy the license. For years in the state, the state’s hunters 15 years old and and younger didn’t have to have any type of license.
“There is no proof of residency requirement,” he said. “This license does not require an ID.”
The purpose of the change was to take advantage of federal dollars based on the number of licensed hunters in Louisiana.
“The number we used in the fiscal note was an estimated 10,000 new hunters,” McClinton said. “That would generate approximately $350,000 more in federal wildlife restoration funding. Louisiana averages about $35 per licensed hunter.”
The new licensing requirements do not affect the state’s young fishermen. In fact, the new law actually pushes back the age that a fisherman needs a license. Starting June 1, the license age requirement is going from 16 and under to 18. Therefore a youth will not require a fishing license until 18, McClinton said.
McClinton also said in the video that youth sitting in a stand with friends or family without a gun who are just spectators with no intent to hunt do not need a license.
There is another change in the law that will help some fishermen. The Legislature established a nonresident native son/daughter fishing license to go along with the long-established hunting license covering the same anglers. This new license is good for 10 days and will cost $17 each for basic and saltwater licenses. There’s also a new $5 license that covers fishing and crabbing from the bank.
Forty other states have youth hunting license programs, McClinton said.