Tens of Thousands Safely Join Sportsmen's Ranks
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 20, 2007
The Families Afield Program led to an astounding jump in
the number of new hunters in 2006. The spotless safety record of the
freshmen underscores the fact that mentored youth are the safest in the
Families Afield is a campaign established by the U.S. Sportsmen's
Alliance, National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), and National Wild
Turkey Federation (NWTF) to urge states to eliminate unnecessary hunting
age restrictions and ease hunter education mandates for first-time
During the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference in
Portland, Oregon, the USSA and its partners announced that half of the
twelve states that have approved Families Afield legislation and
regulations have already measured the program's performance and report a
significant climb in new hunters. Data available from Florida, Illinois,
Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, and Ohio reveals that apprentice
hunting license programs brought nearly 34,000 new hunters to the field
without a single hunting-related shooting incident.
Click on 'Read More' for the entire press release, which includes quotes from Buckeye Firearms Association Northwest Ohio Chair Chad Baus.
"The Families Afield program is proving to be safe and effective at
boosting sportsmen's numbers, as we were confident it would," said USSA
President Bud Pidgeon. "Research conducted before apprentice programs
were implemented showed that supervised young hunters are the safest in
the field, and the new data backs the claim. The most important factor
affecting youth hunting safety is the presence of a responsible,
attentive adult hunter."
Children are not the only ones utilizing the apprentice license
programs. The licenses are available for first-time hunters of all ages,
which means mentors can also take other adults for their inaugural
Chad Baus, 34, was among the nearly 9,000 apprentice hunters in Ohio.
The young man from Archbold, Ohio took his first deer during the 2006
"I recently developed an interest in hunting, but without having tried
it, I wasn't motivated to invest my time in a hunter education course to
get a hunting license," said Baus. "The apprentice hunting program
allowed me to try deer hunting and I loved it. From now on, there won't
be a year when I won't be in the field."
The apprentice hunting experience was the motivation Baus needed. He has
already scheduled to take his hunter education course, and he is
planning to introduce his boys and wife to the sport through the
apprentice license program.
"It's a great experience and I want to pass it on," said Baus.
Lawmakers in California, Nebraska, Maine, Wisconsin and Oregon are
considering legislation to enact apprentice license programs and lower
hunting age restrictions.
"We hope that the popularity of apprentice programs and the impressive
safety statistics will help convince legislators in these states to
support efforts that will make it easier for newcomers to enjoy
hunting," said Pidgeon.
Sportsmen who want to support the enactment of Families Afield laws and
regulations in their states can use the Legislative Action Center on the
USSA website, www.ussportsmen.org. The resource allows visitors to find
and send messages to their lawmakers regarding Families Afield and other
The U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance is a national association of sportsmen and
sportsmen's organization that protects the rights of hunters, anglers
and trappers in the courts, legislatures, at the ballot, in Congress and
through public education programs. For more information about the U.S.
Sportsmen's Alliance and its work, call (614) 888-4868 or visit its