Last week, the Montana House Judiciary Committee passed Senate Bill 395 by a 12 to 9 vote. 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. This bill could receive a House vote as early as tomorrow. It is critical you contact your state Representative in SUPPORT of SB 395.
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 trusted 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, adopted in 36 states 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 could be voted on in the House as early as tomorrow, April 14. Please contact your Representative TODAY and politely urge them to support the future of hunting and vote YES on SB 395 when it comes up for a vote. Contact information for your Representative can be found here.