House Bill 1227, championed by State Representative Craig Headland (R-29), remains in the Senate Natural Resources Committee, where action is expected soon. Since HB 1227 cannot be defeated in committee, please begin contacting your State Senator in anticipation of the bill soon being heard on the Senate floor.
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 the age of 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 for their children who wish to hunt 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 requirements. These apprentice hunters would have to be accompanied by an adult hunter.
Please contact your State Senator and respectfully urge them to support HB 1227, and ensure North Dakota strengthens its hunter retention efforts. Contact information can be found here.