Section 14: Hunter education programs; issuance of licenses to minors; target practice; confiscation of firearms
Section 14. It shall be unlawful for any resident or non-resident to hunt for any bird or mammal in the commonwealth unless such person has successfully completed a hunter education course as prescribed by this section, or unless such person has held a license so to hunt, before January 1, 2007. Said hunter education course shall be conducted, under the direction of the division of law enforcement and shall include, but not be limited to, the safe handling of hunting equipment, firearms, archery tackle or other equipment used in recreational hunting: and the responsibilities of the hunter to himself, the wildlife, the landowner and the general public. The course shall also include, with respect to the safe handling of firearms, the program of instruction on harm reduction developed by the division on violence and injury prevention within the department of public health. Said course shall be minimum of twelve hours in length and shall be made available to the public in all areas of the commonwealth. The division of law enforcement shall provide agency-qualified instructors and furnish said instructors with necessary materials and equipment to conduct such courses. Said instructors shall be certified by the division of law enforcement, with the approval of the director of law enforcement, in cooperation with the director of the division of fisheries and wildlife.
The division of law enforcement shall establish the content of said courses. A person, upon the successful completion of said course shall be issued a certificate of completion except that nothing in this section shall require the issuance of a certificate of completion, to a person who is under the age of fifteen. A certificate issued by another state or province, which claims completion of a comparable course, shall if approved by the director be accepted by the division of law enforcement in lieu of said certificate of completion. The division of law enforcement may provide insurance for participants, officers and civilian instructors in said course of instruction.
The hunter education program of the division of law enforcement, for the purpose of conducting such course may cooperate with any departments or divisions of the federal government, the commonwealth or any of its subdivisions, and any associations or organizations.
Except as hereinafter provided, no sporting, hunting, fishing or trapping license shall be granted to a minor under the age of fifteen, nor, except as hereinafter provided, shall a sporting or hunting license be granted to a minor fifteen to seventeen years of age, inclusive; but the director, any city or town clerk, or any person duly authorized under the provisions of section twelve may issue a fishing license to any minor fifteen to seventeen years of age, inclusive, if such minor has been a resident of the commonwealth for at least six months and is a citizen of the United States, or a fishing license to non-resident minor fifteen to seventeen years, inclusive, or a trapping license to any minor twelve to seventeen years of age, inclusive, if such minor is a citizen of the United States. The director or any city or town clerk shall issue a hunting or sporting license to any minor fifteen to seventeen years of age, inclusive, who presents to the person authorized to issue such license, either a written statement that at all times when hunting or target practicing other than on a duly recognized range said minor shall be accompanied by a person eighteen years of age or older, or a certificate of completion as provided in this section. Every application for a license hereunder, except a fishing license, from a minor fifteen to seventeen years of age, inclusive, shall be in writing and shall be accompanied by the written consent thereto of the parent or guardian, which shall be preserved for one year by the director, the city or town clerk or any person duly authorized, as the case may be.
Nothing in this section or any other provision of law shall prohibit any minor from participating in target practice on any skeet trap or target range; nor prohibit a minor twelve to fourteen years of age, inclusive, from participating in the hunting of birds and mammals when accompanied by a duly licensed adult; provided, however, that the bag limit established by law or regulation for one person shall not be exceeded; and, provided further, that only one firearm shall be used. Not more than one such minor shall at any time accompany one adult, and such minors shall not be required to be licensed.
Any firearm whether discharged by air, mechanical action or otherwise, use or possession by any minor who is not licensed, or who is not accompanied as provided in this section, or which is used in violation of this section, shall be confiscated by any officer empowered to enforce this section, and shall be disposed of by the director of law enforcement for the best interest of the commonwealth, after a hearing, due notice of which has been given.