The Families Afield initiative is picking up steam in 2009. On the heels of a big win in Nevada, Wisconsin is moving forward with an apprentice bill that would allow a 10 year old the ability to get in the field with an experienced mentor.
Senate Bill 167, sponsored by Sen. Jim Holperin (D-Conover), will allow 10-year olds to hunt with a parent or guardian that has a hunting license. It cleared the Senate on June 9 by a 27-6 vote.
The bill now moves over to the Wisconsin Assembly. A companion bill has already made its way through the committee process, but the Assembly is currently debating challenging budget legislation and it is not clear when the Families Afield legislation will be taken up.
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.
Sen. Holperin is quoted by Fox News as saying SB 167 is intended to “expose young people to the sport early in a meaningful way and to get their commitment to hunting, fishing and trapping that will hopefully last a lifetime.”
Other key local groups in the effort include: Hunters Rights Coalition, Wisconsin Bear Hunters Assoc., Wisconsin State Chapter of NWTF, Wisconsin Chapters of Safari Club International, Wisconsin Waterfowl Association, and the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation.