Legislation that would remove the one-year limit on purchasing an apprentice hunting license and increase the number of times an apprentice license can be purchased has been sent to Gov. Henry McMaster. 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.
Take Action Today! South Carolina members should contact Gov. McMaster and urge him to sign HB 3800. The Governor’s Office can be reached at (803) 734-2100 or at this link.
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.
“The impact of this legislation will have a far-reaching impact on the future of hunting in South Carolina,” said Bruce Tague vice president of government affairs at the Sportsmen’s Alliance. “Improving mentored hunting laws makes it easier to recruit and retain new sportsmen and ultimately preserve South Carolina’s outdoor heritage.”
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: Online, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.