USSA: Hearing Scheduled for Bill to Eliminate Hunting Barriers in Ohio

October 21, 2005
U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance Action Alert

An Ohio bill designed to help increase the number of sportsmen in the field will be heard in a house committee next week. The bill is part of a national effort to recruit hunters to the sport.

Ohio HB 296, introduced by Rep. Stephen Buehrer, R-Delta, will create an apprentice hunting license. It is scheduled for sponsor testimony in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee on Oct. 26.

The apprentice hunting license that the bill establishes will allow qualified, licensed adult hunters to introduce others to the sport prior to completing a hunter education course. The apprentice hunter would have to be in close proximity to the adult mentor while in the field.

“This concept was designed to enhance the ability of youth and adults to discover hunting prior to large investments of time and money in equipment and training,” said Bud Pidgeon, U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA) president. “The effort is part of the Families Afield program, which was established by the USSA, National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) and the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) to urge states to review and eliminate unnecessary age restrictions for hunters.”

Families Afield was developed after results of a study, called the Youth Hunting Report, showed that youngsters are less likely to take up hunting in states that have more restrictive requirements for youth participation. However, states that have removed barriers to youth hunting have a much higher youth recruitment rate.

According to the research, 34 states restrict youth participation in hunting. These states restrict hunting before age 13 or prohibit the introduction of hunting before the completion of a hunter education course. Ohio is one of those states.

The Youth Hunting Report, funded by NSSF and NWTF, showed that hunters in states without these restrictions are as safe as Ohio hunters. It also showed that the most important factor affecting youth hunting safety is the presence of a responsible, attentive adult hunter.

Take Action! Ohio sportsmen should ask their state representatives to support HB 296. Let them know that unnecessary barriers to youth hunting should be removed. Educate them that the safest hunter is a mentored youth hunter.

Previous Coverage by Larry S. Moore:
HB 296 seeks to improve hunting opportunities in Ohio

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