HB655 is legislation that goes against all statistics concerning youth hunting. States with lower minimum hunting ages have a better safety record and retain more hunters than states with a higher minimum age. Setting the minimum age at 13 in Maryland would detract more young hunters from taking up the sport, take away personal decisions made by parents, and increase the likelihood of accidents involving youth hunters.
HB657 would ban the tradition of black bear hunting in Maryland. Hunting is the best means of maintaining a healthy population of any species. Hunting black bear keeps the population at a level that helps prevent interaction with humans and keeps the population healthy so there is less competition for food and resources. Banning the hunting of black bear in Maryland would have drastic effects on the population and is an outright assault on the hunting traditions of Maryland.
HB655 and HB657 have both been assigned to the House Committee on Environmental Matters. No hearing has been scheduled for either bill. Please continue to check your email and http://www.nraila.org/ for any updates on both of these bills.