Nevada has become the 28th state to pass Families Afield legislation which reduces barriers to new hunters who wish to try the sport. But the road to passing the bill was much rockier than expected.
Despite strong bipartisan support from both the House and the Senate, Governor Jim Gibbons vetoed Assembly Bill 246, sponsored by Assemblyman David Bobzien (D- Washoe County), on May 28 due to concerns over a portion of the bill unrelated to the Families Afield premise.
Fortunately, the apparent setback did not derail the bill from becoming law as the Nevada Legislature voted over the following weekend to override the Governors veto.
“We’re extremely pleased that Assemblyman Bobzien and members of the Nevada legislature understood the importance of bringing a new generation of sportsmen into the field,” said U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance President and CEO Bud Pidgeon.
Assembly Bill 246 expands opportunities for newcomers to hunt by creating an apprentice hunting license for those 12 and older. The bill allows an apprentice hunter the opportunity to try hunting, while accompanied by an experienced mentor, before completing a hunter education course.
The effort is part of the national Families Afield campaign, established by the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA), National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), and the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) to urge states to review and eliminate unnecessary hunting age restrictions.
Other key groups involved in the successful campaign included the Nevada Department of Wildlife, the National Rifle Association, Ducks Unlimited, Nevada Chapters of Safari Club International (SCI) and numerous other local and statewide organizations.
“The apprentice hunter program is an ideal opportunity, not only to reach out to young hunters but female hunters and hunters of all ages as well, said Ken Mayer, Director of Nevada Department of Wildlife. “Our hope is that this bill will encourage more hunters to become mentors and reconnect with our hunting heritage.”