On June 30, the State Board of Game Commissioners gave preliminary approval to add the cottontail rabbit and the mourning dove to the species list for mentored youth hunters in Pennsylvania. Commissioners will make the final decision in September, and if approved, the expansion will go into effect for the 2016-2017 license year. The NRA strongly supports expanding hunting opportunities for Pennsylvania youth.
Currently, youth ages 11 and under who purchase a Mentored Youth Hunting Permit are licensed to hunt deer, turkeys, squirrels, woodchucks and coyotes. However, due to regulations passed in 2015, hunters 6 years and under must use their mentor’s tag to harvest a deer or turkey. The mentor must be a licensed hunter 21 years or older and may accompany only one youth hunter at a time. The pair are limited to the use of one firearm and the mentor must carry the firearm while moving. The youth must remain within arm’s reach of the mentor when handling the firearm.
Mentored hunting—also known as apprentice hunting—is, by far, the safest form of all hunting, something that is already one of the safest activities in America. This program is a valuable tool to engage Pennsylvania’s youth in the tradition of hunting. It teaches the next generation of sportsmen the proper handling of firearms and safety methods while giving them practical experience in the field. Mentored hunting is critical to help preserve and strengthen the future of our cherished hunting heritage.
The mentored hunting license program is meant to remove barriers and create opportunities for newcomers to hunting. Thirty-nine states sell apprentice or mentored hunting licenses, and since 2006, nearly 1.5 million mentored hunting licenses have been sold.
Your NRA-ILA will continue to update you on this issue.