Legislation that will make it easier for sportsmen to pass their hunting heritage to the next generation is circulating in the Wisconsin State Assembly. The proposal will create a mentored hunting program, which permits an experienced sportsman to take a newcomer hunting under close supervision prior to the completion of hunter education.
Under the program the apprentice hunter must be at least ten years of age. There can be only one firearm between the two people. The bill also allows parents to take their children under twelve target shooting, which is illegal under current law.
The proposal is being offered in the Assembly by Representative Ann Hraychuck, who chairs the Assembly Fish and Wildlife Committee. A companion bill will be introduced by Senator Jim Holperin, who chairs the Senate Transportation, Touristy, Forestry and Natural Resources Committee.
Similar laws have been enacted in 27 states since 2005 as part of a program called Families Afield, which was launched by the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and the U. S. Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA). The program has also been supported by the National Rifle Association. There have been more than 283,000 apprentice licenses sold since the program was created.
Other organizations supporting the legislation are the Hunters Rights Coalition, (Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, Wisconsin State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation and Wisconsin chapters of Safari Club International), Wisconsin Waterfowl Association, and the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation.
“These groups have all come together because they know that a mentored hunting program will help ensure the future of hunting,” said Dean Hamilton, president of WI-NWTF.
“We are so pleased that Senator Hraychuck and Senator Holperin have agreed to carry this important measure,” added Scott Meyer, of the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association. “It shows all legislators just how important hunting is to our culture, the economy, and conservation.”
The groups will be asking their members to contact their respective senators and representatives to request that they agree to co-sponsor the two bills, which will be introduced shortly after.
The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance is a national association of sportsmen and sportsmen’s organizations that protects the rights of hunters, anglers and trappers in the courts, legislatures, at the ballot, in Congress and through public education programs. For more information about the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance and its work, call (614) 888-4868 or visit its website, www.sportsmensalliance.org.