Hunting information for minors

Youth hunters, 12 to 17 years of age, must follow regulations specific to their age. Learn about how to buy a minor hunting license online or in person. Get information about youth hunt days and programs in Massachusetts as well as rules about minor firearms licensing.

Table of Contents

Age-specific license requirements

There are different rules for minors based on their age. No person under the age of 12 may hunt in Massachusetts.

Youth ages 12-14

Youth ages 12-14 do not need a license or stamps or firearms license to hunt. They may hunt only when accompanied by a licensed adult hunter 18 or older. Only one minor per adult is permitted. The adult and minor share one firearm/bow, a single bag limit along with any applicable permits/tags.

The adult must have:

  • A valid Massachusetts hunting or sporting license
  • Any required state or federal stamps or permits
  • Firearms license if a firearm is being used (issued by local police department).
  • All other hunting laws apply.

Youth Ages 15–17

Youth ages 15-17 must have a minor hunting license along with any required stamps and permits.

  • Minors without a government-issued Basic Hunter Education certificate must be accompanied by a person 18 years of age or older.
  • Minors with a government-issued Basic Hunter Education certificate may legally hunt without adult supervision and must carry their Basic Hunter Education certificate while hunting.
  • Minors hunting with a shotgun or rifle must follow Massachusetts Firearms license laws and must obtain a Firearms Identification Card (FID). An FID is issued by local police departments.
  • All other hunting laws apply.

Purchasing a minor hunting license ONLINE

Youth ages 15-17 must have a minor hunting license along with any required stamps and permits. You can buy a minor hunting license online through the MassFishHunt system.

Youth ages 15–17 may only purchase a hunting license with the consent of a parent or guardian. In addition to providing consent for the minor to hunt, a parent or guardian must also affirm that either:

  • The minor has a government-issued Basic Hunter Education certificate

OR

  • The minor will always be accompanied by a person 18 or older while hunting

Parents and guardians can provide consent in the form of an electronic affidavit through the new MassFishHunt system. When adding a minor hunting license to your cart, you will be prompted to enter information and consent.

Attention: The MassFishHunt licensing system was recently upgraded. Learn about what’s changed and how to log into the new system for the first time.

Purchasing a minor hunting license IN PERSON

Youth ages 15-17 must have a minor hunting license along with any required stamps and permits. You can buy a minor hunting license in person. Go to mass.gov/fishhuntlicensemap to find a license vendor.

To buy a minor hunting license, resident and nonresident minors must present the following documents to the license vendor.

1. A signed letter of consent from a parent or guardian

2. One of the following:

  • A written statement that at all times when hunting or target practicing minors will be accompanied by a person 18 years of age or older (this option does not require successful completion of Basic Hunter Education)
  • A government issued certificate from a Basic Hunter Education course. If you are unsure of what to bring to a license vendor, print and complete the form found at mass.gov/minorlicense.

Youth hunt days and programs

Youth Pheasant Hunt Program
For Hunter Education graduates 12–17 years of age and conducted by sporting clubs. Includes a seminar with instruction on firearms safety in the field, hunting ethics, regulations, game preparation, and supervised shooting practice. The program ends with a pheasant hunt under the guidance of an experienced adult hunter.
Requirements: Youths 12–17 must complete a basic hunter education course and a youth pheasant hunting workshop at a participating sporting club. For details, go to mass.gov/dfw/yaph.

Youth Turkey Hunt Program
For Hunter Education graduates 12–17 years of age and conducted by sporting clubs with the support of the National Wild Turkey Federation. Includes a seminar with instruction on firearms safety in the field, hunting ethics, regulations, game preparation and supervised shooting practice. The program ends with a turkey hunt under the guidance of an experienced adult hunter.
Requirements:
Youth ages 12–14: Basic Hunter Education Certificate and Youth Turkey Hunt Permit. Youth Turkey Permits for hunters ages 12–14 are valid for the youth day and the regular spring and fall turkey seasons.
Youth ages 15–17: Basic Hunter Education Certificate, Minor Hunting license, regular Turkey Permit and tags, Youth Turkey Hunt Authorization. To obtain the Youth Turkey Hunt Permit/ Authorization all youth hunters must complete 1) a basic hunter education course and 2) a youth turkey hunting seminar at a participating club. Upon completion the youth can obtain the required permit or authorization through MassFishHunt. For details, go to mass.gov/dfw/yath.

Youth Deer Hunt Day
MassWildlife created Youth Deer Hunt Day to allow young hunters to hunt deer with their own permit. The hunt occurs on a special one-day season before the state's annual deer hunting seasons. Shotgun deer season regulations apply during the hunt. Licensed hunters who hunt other animals on this date must follow special restrictions.
Requirements: Youth Deer Permit Permits are free and available online in August at MassFishHunt, at MassWildlife offices, and other license vendors. Youth Deer Hunt Permit and tag is valid only for the Youth Deer Hunt Day.

Youth Waterfowl Hunt Day
The 2 Youth Waterfowl Hunt days are not available until mid-May when they will be posted on the MassWildlife website.
Requirements: All Youth Hunt Day hunters must be accompanied by a licensed adult hunter (18 or older). Licensed adult must have a valid MA Waterfowl stamp and may not hunt. Licensed adults may carry firearm only when unloaded and cased. All other migratory game bird regulations and bag limits apply.

Resources for parents and guardians of youth hunters

While minors are not mandated to complete Basic Hunter Education to hunt, it is one option for youth (15-17 years of age) to purchase a hunting license and it is a prerequisite for all minors (12-17 years of age) to participate in some youth programs.

Minors can take the Basic Hunter Education course with parent or guardian permission. The recommended minimum age for taking Basic Hunter Education is 12. Courses are offered in different formats at locations throughout the state. For more details, please visit the Basic Hunter Education schedule or call the Hunter Education office at (508) 389-7820. 

To prepare for an upcoming Basic Hunter Education course, students have access to a free, online study guide at www.huntercourse.com/usa/massachusetts

Firearms licensing in for minors in Massachusetts

In order to hunt with most types of guns, Massachusetts residents ages 15 and older need to apply for and obtain a Massachusetts Firearms license (i.e. Firearms Identification Card (FID) or a License to Carry Firearms (LTC)). Contact your local police department for application information

Additional Resources

Contact

Phone

Open M–F, 8 a.m.–4 p.m. (closed noon–12:30 for lunch)

Feedback