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    Families Afield Effort to Boost Hunter Recruitment Making Strides in Nebraska and North Dakota- (01/28)
    North Dakota

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    Lawmakers in two Plains States are working with sportsmen to pass bills that will tear down age restrictions and other barriers that prevent people from hunting.

    The effort is part of the national Families Afield campaign, established by the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), and National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) to urge states to review and eliminate unnecessary hunting age restrictions and ease hunter education mandates. The National Rifle Association is also supporting the effort in both states.

    On Jan. 23, North Dakota HB 1149 was approved by the House Natural Resources Committee, 12 to 2. The bill will lower the age for deer hunters from 14 to 12 year old. House Bill 1149 is sponsored by Rep. Donald Dietrich, R-Grand Forks; Rep. Ron Carlisle, R-Bismarck; Rep. Dawn Marie Charging, R-Garrison; Rep. Darrell Nottestad, R-Grand Forks; Rep. Dan Ruby, R-Minot; and Sen. Stanley Lyson, R-Williston.

    On Jan. 17, Nebraska Sen. Deb Fischer, I-Valentine, introduced LB 690. The bill creates an apprentice hunting license that will allow newcomers to the sport to hunt under the supervision of licensed hunters who are 19 years or older before completing a hunter education course. An apprentice license will be valid for one year, and may be renewed one time before a hunter education course is required.

    Under the proposed apprentice license program, children ages 10 and 11 may hunt deer with a mentor. Legislative Bill 690 will also remove wild turkeys from the big game list. Since Nebraska has no minimum age requirement for small game hunting, turkey hunting will become a part of the outdoor tradition that parents and mentors can share with children any age.

    The USSA, NSSF, and NWTF are working with a coalition of sportsmen’s organizations, including the Nebraska Bowhunters Association, and local chapters of Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, Izaak Walton League of America, and Whitetails Unlimited to ensure the state’s sportsmen take grassroots action and support LB 690. These groups support the concept that newcomers to outdoor sports should have the opportunity to experience hunting before making large investments of time and money in equipment and training.

    To date, Families Afield legislation and regulations have been approved in 12 states. Michigan and Ohio Families Afield campaigns established apprentice hunting programs. First-year results appear extremely promising. More than 17,500 apprentice licenses were sold in Michigan, plus over 9,500 in Ohio, during 2006.

    Families Afield was developed after results of a study, called the Youth Hunting Report, showed that youngsters are less likely to take up hunting in states that have more restrictive requirements for youth participation. However, states that have removed barriers to youth hunting have a much higher youth recruitment rate.

    Studies have also shown that supervised youth are the safest class of hunters.

    The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance is a national association of sportsmen and sportsmen’s organizations. It protects the rights of hunters, anglers and trappers in the courts, legislatures, at the ballot, in Congress and through public education programs. For more information about the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance and its work, call (614) 888-4868 or visit its website,

  • #2
    HSUS Calls for National Lead Ammo Ban

    HSUS Calls for National Lead Ammo Ban

    The Humane Society of the United States wasted no time trying to take advantage of a recent study from North Dakota regarding the possible dangers of consuming wild game harvested by lead ammunition. On November 10, HSUS issued a call for the nationwide banning of lead ammunition after the release of the report by the North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) that had been conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The USSA has already issued a statement that deflates key arguments made by HSUS.

    The CDC report found that while the levels of lead in the blood of those tested who were frequent consumers of wild game taken with traditional, lead ammunition appeared to be somewhat higher than those not consuming wild game; none had levels approaching those that would be of concern to the CDC. In fact, in its own press releases, NDDoH indicated food pantries could continue accepting venison, provided the meat was appropriately processed.

    In a press release regarding the issue from, USSA Senior Vice President Rick Story stated, “HSUS should stop hyperventilating and actually read the report since it makes clear that the average level of lead in the people tested is actually lower than the level of the average American. That fact completely undermines its call for banning traditional ammo.

    Story continued, “It should come as no surprise that America’s leading opponent of hunting, fishing and trapping has mischaracterized the findings of the CDC report. It will resort to any means necessary to deny the rights of sportsmen.”
    Saltwater Fishing Articles & More by Outdoor Writer Jerry LaBella