Yesterday, June 6, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives unanimously passed legislation expanding Pennsylvania’s mentored hunting programs. There is currently a loophole in state law which prohibits the Pennsylvania Game Commission from implementing mentored hunting programs for youth between the ages of 12-17. House Bill 485, sponsored by state Representative Neal Goodman (D-123), is a technical fix which is intended to correct this problem and reinstate the original legislative intent of Pennsylvania’s mentored hunting program. Further, HB 485 would create a discounted general hunting license for Hunter Trapper Education (HTE) instructors.
Hunting is one of the safest recreational activities enjoyed by families in the United States. However, in order for youths between the ages of 12-17 to participate in hunting in Pennsylvania, they must complete the mandatory hunter/trapper safety education course. 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 485 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 many 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.
Stay tuned to www.nraila.org and your email inbox for further updates on this legislation.