South Carolina Apprentice Hunting Bill has Committee Hearing

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Legislation that would allow anyone in South Carolina who is 16 and over to purchase an apprentice hunting license an unlimited number of times has a hearing scheduled in the Senate Fish, Game and Forestry Committee on Wednesday, Sept. 16, in Gressette Room 308. The committee meeting will take place one hour prior to the start of session. HB 3800 passed the South Carolina House with overwhelming bipartisan support at a vote count of 104-1.

Take Action Today! South Carolina members should contact Chairman George E. “Chip” Campsen and urge him to pass HB 3800 as currently written. He can be reached at (803) 212-6340. Members can also contact their Senator by using the Sportsmen’s Alliance Legislative Action Center.

Under current law, an apprentice hunting license can only be purchased for one year in South Carolina. Every state bordering South Carolina allows apprentices to purchase the license for at least three years.  Research has demonstrated that allowing the purchase of an apprentice license for at least three years is an effective recruitment tool, and remarkably safe. Multiple studies conducted by the Sportsmen’s Alliance found that more than 90% 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 are pleased that South Carolina is considering removal of an unnecessary barrier that diminishes hunter efforts to pass on their heritage to the next generation,” said Bruce Tague Vice President of government affairs at the Sportsmen’s Alliance. “We look forward to working with NWTF and other partners to continue to advance the Families Afield Program.”

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.