Today, May 17, Governor Kate Brown (D) signed House Bill 2566 into law. Introduced by state Representative Brad Witt (D-31), HB 2566 will increase the maximum age limit for youth participating in the existing hunter mentoring program from 14 to 16 years of age. Current law allows a licensed hunter, 21 years or older, to mentor youth in order to introduce them to hunting. HB 2566 passed the House with a 56-0 vote and the Senate with a 30-0 vote. This bill will go into effect on January 1, 2018.
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. HB 2566 allows them to experience hunting while under the supervision of a mentor before taking the course. 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 Oregon and other states with similar programs. Since 2006, nearly 1.5 million apprentice hunting licenses have been sold in participating states and have proven the value and safety of mentoring newcomers in the field.
Your NRA would like to thank the state legislators who supported HB 2566. This bill will help ensure that Oregon’s strong hunting heritage, and its vital contributions to conservation, wildlife management, and the economy, are preserved for future generations to come.