Anyone 16 years or older and born after May 31, 1975 can purchase a hunting license and hunt under the supervision of a qualified hunter without having to complete the state's hunter safety certification.
Hunters using the mentoring exemption need to be under the supervision of an adult, 21 years old or older, who has a valid hunting license or is exempt from the hunting license requirement and who has met the hunter safety requirement or is exempt from the hunter safety requirement.
The mentoring exemption was passed by the Florida Legislature to help persuade more people to experience hunting. It is designed to encourage experienced hunters to teach novice hunters about safety, ethics, wildlife, hunting skills and respect for Florida's outdoors.
In the past, everyone 16 or over, and born after May 31, 1975, needed to complete the hunter safety requirement before they were allowed to buy a hunting license. Now, those who are 16 and have not completed their hunter safety certification can hunt under the supervision of a mentor.
"This should be a great incentive for getting more people to give hunting a try, and hopefully, we can hook some of these folks on the hunting tradition," said Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission hunter safety coordinator Bill Cline. "If a novice hunter enjoys the sport, we hope they take the hunter safety course and continue the experience for years to come."
Effective July 1, 2012, individuals taking advantage of this try-before-you-buy approach no longer have to take and pass a hunter safety class to be eligible to purchase their next hunting license, but must successfully complete a hunter safety course before they are allowed to hunt without being under the supervision of an adult 21 years old or older.