Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Youth Hunting Bill Moving in Four States

© By Othmar Vohringer

Great news from Nebraska, Virginia, Indiana and Wisconsin, these four states have passed, or are in the process of passing, legislation that will make it easier to recruit new hunters into our ranks.
The following news release has been sent to me by U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance

Elected officials in four states are moving closer to enacting legislation lowering barriers that prevent the recruitment of new hunters.

The Nebraska Senate passed Legislative Bill 690 on February first by a vote of 46-1 for the third and final time. LB 690 creates an apprentice hunter education exemption certificate, which allows an experienced hunter to take a newcomer hunting before completing a hunter education course. The measure also lowers the deer hunting age for mentored youth from 12 to 10, allowing parents and mentors to share outdoor traditions with tomorrow’s hunters.

In Virginia, companion legislation continues to move forward. SB 617 passed the Senate by a vote of 39-0 while HB 1175 passed the House by a vote of 98-0. The companion bills would create a 2 year apprentice license to allow newcomers to take to the field with a licensed adult hunter prior to the completion of hunter education.

“These measures go a long way to ensure the future of our nation’s outdoor heritage and conservation efforts,” said Bud Pidgeon, USSA president. “Through the apprentice hunting experience newcomers can learn the necessary tools to safely experience and enjoy the outdoors for years to come.”

In Indiana, House Bill 1046 creates an apprentice hunting license allowing resident or nonresident newcomers, who are accompanied by a license adult hunter, to hunt for 3 years prior to the completion of a hunter education course. HB 1046 passed the House on Jan. 24 by a vote of 89-1 and awaits additional hearings in the Senate.

Finally in Wisconsin, Assembly Bill 672 had its first hearing before the Assembly Natural Resources Committee. The bill would establish an apprentice hunting license for those ten years old and higher, while also removing an archaic ban on allowing youth under 12 to target shoot. The measure passed out of the Assembly Natural Resources Committee on January 30th, with overwhelming support.

The effort is part of the national Families Afield campaign, established by the USSA, National Shooting Sports Foundation, and National Wild Turkey Federation to urge states to review and eliminate unnecessary hunting age restrictions. Together, with the support of the National Rifle Association and state and local sportsmen’s organization, the partnership has worked to ensure support for these measures. To date, 21 states have already enacted Families Afield style bills since the program was launched in 2004.

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Anonymous said...

That is good news! I must have missed this update. Thanks for passing it along.

Othmar Vohringer said...

Thanks Kristine! It is rather nice to hear some encouraging news about hunting once in a while.


SimplyOutdoors said...

Great news.

Michigan just recently started an apprentice program and lowered the starting age for hunting as well.

All good news to get those kids out hunting earlier and also an opportunity to get people involved in hunting and letting them decide if they like it before going through all the necessary things to get a license.

Great, great news.

Othmar Vohringer said...

Yes it is all good news as more U.S. states and Canadian provinces start to realize that they have to remove some hurdles to get more people into hunting.

Matt said...

Good post. I'm going to check right now on that Virginia legislation, which I was not aware of. But I'm not absolutely sure it's a good thing. My understanding has always been that kids under 12 don't need a license at all in Virginia as long as they are with a licensed adult, which they have to be whether they have a license or not. I'll check and report back.

Matt said...

OK, I guess it is good. It looks like the legislation would apply to youth hunters, which Virginia defines as kids aged 12-15, who do currently have to take the course and buy a license.

Othmar Vohringer said...

I am glad you could clear that up for me Matt. Thanks.

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