Last week, the Montana Senate passed Senate Bill 395 by a 28 to 22 vote and has now been referred to the House Judiciary Committee where it is scheduled to be heard on Wednesday, April 8. Sponsored by state Senator Mark Blasdel (R-4), SB 395 would strengthen Montana’s rich hunting heritage by opening up an apprentice program for minors in the field.
SB 395 would give minors who are 10 to 17 years of age the ability to go into the field to hunt, as long as they are accompanied by someone at least 21 years of age or older who has successfully completed hunter education training, holds a current Montana hunting license and has the permission of the minor’s parents/guardians.
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 simply trying out. The apprentice license program would allow them to experience hunting while under the supervision of a mentor. Eventually, the goal is for these apprentices to complete a hunter education course so they can hunt on their own, which has largely been the case in the states with similar programs. Apprentice hunting license programs throughout the country have issued more than 1 million 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.
Senate Bill 395 is scheduled to be heard in the House Judiciary Committee tomorrow, April 8. Please contact the members of this Committee TODAY and ask that they vote YES and support SB 395 when it comes up for a vote.
House Judiciary Committee:
Representative Jerry Bennett (R-1), Chair
Representative Alan Doane (R-36), Vice-Chair
Representative Virginia Court (D-50), Vice-Chair
Representative Seth Berglee (R-58)
Representative Jenny Eck (D-79)
Representative Clayton Fiscus (R-43)
Representative Stephanie Hess (R-28)
Representative Ellie Boldman Hill (D-90)
Representative Kathy Kelker (D-47)
Representative Sarah Laszloffy (R-53)
Representative Margie MacDonald (D-51)