Senate Bill 197, sponsored by state Senator Scott Boulanger (R-44), would establish an apprentice hunting certificate program that allows individuals of any age to learn the art of hunting while under the supervision of a mentor before completing a hunter education course. SB 197 is scheduled for its first hearing today in the Senate Fish and Game Committee at 3:00 p.m. in hearing room 303 in the Capitol. While no action will be taken today, it is still imperative that you contact members of the Senate Fish and Game Committee today and urge them to support and promote our hunting heritage by voting for SB 197.
Under this proposed law, mentors must be 18 years of age or older, have completed the required hunter safety education course, and possess a current Montana hunting license. It is the responsibility of the mentor to keep their apprentice within their line of sight and direct voice contact.
Hunter recruitment is critical to the long-term preservation of our hunting heritage. Lengthy hunter education requirements often discourage potential hunters from going afield because they are unwilling to dedicate the necessary time to complete the course in order to pursue an activity that they are unsure they will like. This apprentice certificate program will afford them the opportunity to develop a love for hunting and the outdoors while under the safe supervision of an experienced mentor. The ultimate goal is for these apprentices to complete a hunter education course so they can hunt on their own. Apprentice hunting programs throughout the country have issued more than 600,000 licenses to date and these hunters have proven to be safer than all other classes of hunters in what is already one of the safest recreational activities in America.
To determine your state Senator and access his or her contact information, please click here. Contact information for committee members is provided below.
Senate Fish and Game Committee:
Senator John Brenden (R-18), Chairman
Senator Rick Ripley (R-9), Vice Chairman
Senator Debby Barrett (R-36)
Senator Tom Facey (D-48)
Senator Jennifer Fielder (R-7)
Senator Bradley Hamlett (D-10)
Senator Larry Jent (D-32)
Senator Jim Peterson (R-15)
Senator Fred Thomas (R-45)
Senator Kendall Van Dyk (D-25)