West Virginia House Bill 4523, which will allow mentored hunters to purchase an apprentice hunting or trapping license for an unlimited number of years, was recently signed into law by Gov. Jim Justice. This legislation becomes effective on June 5.
Both residents and nonresidents who are 15 years old and older can now hunt under the supervision of an experienced mentor in West Virginia for multiple years prior to completing a hunter education course. Research has shown that mentored hunters are much more likely to complete hunter education and purchase a regular hunting license if given the chance to hunt as an apprentice for multiple years. Under current law, those that are under the age of 14 are free to hunt under supervision without a license.
Apprentice hunting laws have been adopted in 41 states, including West Virginia. These laws serve as the cornerstone of the Families Afield program. Families Afield is an initiative led by the Sportsmen’s Alliance, National Shooting Sports Foundation, National Wild Turkey Federation, National Rifle Association and the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation that’s aims to grow the sport of hunting by advocating for apprentice and mentored hunting laws.
“Because apprentice hunters have consistently proven to be six times safer than regularly licensed hunters, we know West Virginia can offer this option without concern about safety,” said Jacob Hupp associate director of state services for Sportsmen’s Alliance. “The Alliance would like to thank the bill sponsor, Delegate Amy Summers, our members and Gov. Jim Justice for removing unnecessary restrictions to recruiting new hunters.”
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.