California recently upped the age limit for junior hunters from 16 to 18 years of age. This new regulation takes effect July 1, 2015.
The change is aimed at recruiting and retaining hunters by allowing them to participate in a variety of youth-oriented programs.
The higher age limit means that hunters who are younger than 18 years of age on July 1 of the licensing year can purchase a hunting license for a lower cost. This year, a resident California junior hunting license costs $8.25. By comparison, a resident adult hunting license costs $47.01. The new law also applies to out-of-state hunters.
The new regulation also means that hunters under 18 can participate in youth hunting programs such as the ones offered by the California Waterfowl Association and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
These special hunt programs offer opportunities for the next generation of hunters. Federally established youth-hunt weekends are still only offered for hunters that are under 16 years of age.
For duck hunters in the Golden State, kids under 18 will not have to purchase a State Duck Stamp validation. They will, however, still be required to purchase a Federal Duck Stamp if they are over 16 years of age.
Junior upland game hunters will not need to purchase a State Upland Game Validation. Big game hunters under 18 will still be required to purchase tags, and junior hunters are eligible to apply for apprentice deer hunts.
The new regulation takes effect on July 1, 2015. The plan is to have a five-year trial run for the program, and it will expire on July 1, 2020, unless it is renewed or revised. The legislation that raised the junior age limit was sponsored by the California Waterfowl Association.