So, you’re looking into becoming a Scout in Idaho, but you’re confused about when exactly you might need a license in order to work legally. Well, it is actually pretty simple once you understand a couple of the definitions. We will start with the definition of an “Outfitter”. An Outfitter is a person, corporation, organization, or group that provides maintenance, rentals, or leases on equipment designed for use in outdoor, recreational activities. Some examples of these pieces of equipment might be fishing gear such as fishing rods, lures, crab traps, lobster traps, fishing boats, ect. Hunting gear such as hunting rifles, traps, optics, tree stands, game calls, decoys, all terrain vehicles, trail cameras, ect. Camping and exploration equipment such as snow shoes, kayaks, tents, portable stoves, sleeping bags, ect.
Now that’s all well and good but this is where it can get a little bit confusing. The next definition is for a “Guide”. A Guide is not just anyone who takes people on guided tours, and adventures. A Guide in this context is a person that takes people on guided tours or adventures while being under the employ of an Outfitter. For example, you would need a license if you rented or leased out a fishing boat, fishing rod, or even traps and lures to someone, and then took them out on a guided fishing tour on property you didn’t own, but not if the customer acquired that fishing gear from an unrelated company, and then went on your guided fishing tour with you.
There are some exemptions to this as well. For example if you are providing your services for use on your private land then you are not required to get a license. This does not mean that you can not. It just means that you do not have to. Now, it is important to note that you might still have to be licensed as an outfitter or guide if you are using someone’s private property under an agreement rather than owning that private property yourself. Non-profit organizations that provide outdoor experiences to people under the age of 21, or provide these services for their own members, or are exempt from paying federal income tax, are all exempted as well.
You should take having the proper licensing seriously as well since being caught acting as an outfitter or outfitters guide without first securing a license is a misdemeanor and can come with a minimum fine of $1,000, and a maximum fine of up to $5,000, not to mention the sentence of up to 1 year in jail. It’s not just the outfitter that can be punished though. Any person who knows the person, corporation, organization, or group providing the rental or leasing services is not properly licensed as an outfitter or guide in accordance with the law is guilty of a misdemeanor as well. So if you want to avoid this as a potential customer, request to see a copy of their outfitter’s or guide’s license to be sure they are legal. Outfitters and guides are licensed to operate in specific locations and provide certain services. So it would be illegal for them to operate outside of their licensed service area. Now, if you are agaised this licensing stuff please just remember that this is for everyone’s safety. By requiring licenses, the state government can guarantee that outfitters and guides customers have a secure and enjoyable outdoor experience as not knowing what state of repair the all terrain vehicle you are driving, or the deadly weapon you are holding, or the training level your guide has can be dangerous or even deadly in some cases. That is why the Idaho Outfitters and Guides Licencing Board has the power to carry out examinations and investigations into the condition and type of gear and equipment provided by an outfitter. To hold hearings and proceedings to suspend, revoke, or restrict the licenses of outfitters or guides and to suspend, revoke, or restrict said licenses for a valid reason, and even to hire enforcement agents to conduct these investigations.
So in conclusion, don’t get scared off by the idea of having to get licensed. Generally speaking you only really need a license if you are trying to rent out equipment, and not if you are just doing guided tours or trips. If the requirement for a license does potentially apply to you please do your own research, and come to your own conclusions about the when, where, and how of acquiring the proper licensing.