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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

LB 690, Youth/Apprentice Hunter Legislation introduced by State Senator Deb Fischer (District 43), is pending in the Nebraska Legislature and could receive a full floor vote as early as tomorrow, Thursday, January 17.  It is essential that your State Senator hear from you as soon as possible in order to ensure that the anti-hunting forces do not prevail in their effort to defeat this legislation.  The future of Nebraska’s rich hunting heritage counts on it!

LB 690 creates an apprentice hunter program that would allow prospective hunters the opportunity to try their hand at hunting before being required to dedicate time and resources to completing a hunter education class.  It is what’s known as a “try it before you buy it” program.  Apprentice hunters must be supervised at all times by a licensed adult who is at least 19 years old.  

Apprentice hunter programs make it easier for more people to become interested in hunting.  This is critical at a time when hunter recruitment and retention in Nebraska is declining.  Currently, for every 100 hunters who permanently quit hunting in Nebraska, only 70 hunters replace them.  This is a trend celebrated by virulent anti-hunting organizations like the Humane Society of the United States.  We cannot allow it to continue!

The bill also removes the wild turkey from the state’s list of big game species.  While the harvest of turkeys will still be regulated in order to ensure healthy populations, this will allow children ages ten and eleven to hunt the elusive bird under adult supervision.   This further empowers parents in Nebraska to make the decision as to when their children are mature enough to hunt turkeys.  Experience in other states shows that more kids will become “hooked on hunting” as a result.  Of course, recruiting these youngsters is a critical component in the effort to save hunting in Nebraska.

This legislation is a direct result of an initiative known as Families Afield and is a collaborative effort between the NRA, National Wild Turkey Federation, U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance and National Shooting Sports Foundation.

Please call your state senator as soon as possible and request that he or she vote “yes” on LB 690.  To identify and contact your senator, please visit: http://www.capwiz.com/nra/state/main/?state=NE&view=myofficials

A complete listing of senators and their contact information is available here: http://nebraskalegislature.gov/web/public/senators/bios

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