South Dakota Mentored Hunting Legislation Passes Senate

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Take Action Today! South Dakota sportsmen should contact their state representative and ask them to vote YES on Senate Bill 137. Let them know that parents are best equipped to know when their kids are ready to begin hunting. Currently, SB 137 is in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. South Dakota members can contact their state representative by using the Sportsmen’s Alliance Legislative Action Center.

South Dakota’s Senate Bill 137, sponsored by Sen. Jason E. Frerichs (D- Wilmont), which would eliminate the minimum age requirement to try hunting under the supervision of an experienced mentor, passed the Senate with a vote of 30-4. SB 137 lets kids 10 and under try hunting in a safe and controlled environment prior to the completion of a hunter education class. Under current law, mentored hunting is only available for young people between the ages of 10 and 16.   

Senate Bill 137 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 40 states since the Families Afield program was launched in 2005. It has been directly responsible for more than 1.9 million apprentice licenses sold. The coalition believes that parents should be able to decide whether their child is ready and mature enough for hunting.

Neighboring Wisconsin just eliminated the 10-year-old-minimum age this past year. In Pennsylvania, nearly 45 percent of all mentored hunters are under age 10. Trusting parents to make these decisions has paid off in both states, which lead the nation in mentored licenses sold each year. Mentored hunters continue to be the safest hunters in the woods, more than six times safer than regularly licensed hunters, according to data.

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 possible. Stay connected to Sportsmen’s Alliance: OnlineFacebookTwitter and Instagram.