House Bill 1227, championed by State Representative Craig Headland (R-29), was heard in the Senate Natural Resources Committee on Thursday, February 26 but no action occurred as the committee only considered public testimony.
Please call or email members of the committee before the seven-member panel votes on the bill next week!
This important piece of legislation would strengthen the future of North Dakota’s hunting heritage by fostering youth mentored and apprentice hunting. It would also create an online hunter education program for hunters over 16. The bill would allow a greater number of youths to participate in North Dakota’s deer hunting seasons by lowering the age from 14 to 12. Currently, North Dakota has one of the country’s most restrictive minimum ages at 14.
It is important to consider that roughly 30 states allow parents to make responsible choices and either do not have a minimum age, or their age limitation is not viewed as a barrier to youth recruitment. Those 30 states have a safety record that is as good as, if not slightly better than, the states with restrictive ages.
The bill would also create a one-year apprentice program for older hunters in a “try before you buy” approach that would give them a one-year exemption from hunter safety training requirments. These apprentice hunters would have to be accompanied by an adult hunter.
Please contact Senate Natural Resources Committee members and respectfully ask them to support HB 1227, and ensure North Dakota strengthens its hunter retention efforts. Contact information can be found below.