Families Afield: South Carolina Legislation Signed into Law

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South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has signed House Bill 3800 into law! The new law allows apprentice hunters to purchase the apprentice-hunting license for an unlimited number of years. It also allows out-of-state residents to purchase a three-day apprentice-hunting license. HB 3800 passed the South Carolina House with overwhelming bipartisan support by a vote count of 104-1 and unanimously passed the South Carolina Senate 41-0.

Under previous law, an apprentice-hunting license could only be purchased for one year in South Carolina. By removing the limit on the number of times an apprentice license can be purchased, new sportsmen will have the opportunity to hunt under the supervision of experienced mentors until they complete a hunter’s safety course and can hunt alone. Multiple studies conducted by the Sportsmen’s Alliance have found that more than 90 percent of  returning individuals that purchase an apprentice-hunting license are three times as likely to go on to complete a hunter safety course and become a fully licensed hunter. In addition, safety data over 15 years has revealed that apprentice hunters are the safest hunters in the woods; more than six times safer compared to regularly licensed hunters.

HB 3800 is supported by the national Families Afield effort, which is led by the Sportsmen’s Alliance, National Shooting Sports Foundation, National Wild Turkey Federation, National Rifle Association and the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation. This coalition has successfully championed mentored or apprentice hunting laws in 42 states since the Families Afield program was launched in 2005, and has resulted in more than 2.4 million apprentice licenses sold. Research on apprentice hunting has consistently revealed that allowing people to purchase an apprentice license for three or more years results in a much higher rate of conversion to hunter education and the purchase of a regular hunting license.

“We appreciate the efforts of Rep. Bobby Cox, the South Carolina Legislature and Gov. McMaster for seeing this legislation through to the finish line,” said Bruce Tague vice president of government affairs at the Sportsmen’s Alliance. “This legislation will help grow the sport of hunting in South Carolina and preserve the state’s outdoor hunting heritage for future generations.”

About the Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Sportsmen’s Alliance protects and defends America’s wildlife conservation programs and the pursuits – hunting, fishing and trapping – that generate the money to pay for them. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation is responsible for public education, legal defense and research.  Its mission is accomplished through several distinct programs coordinated to provide the most complete defense capability possible. Stay connected to Sportsmen’s Alliance: OnlineFacebookTwitter and Instagram.