Richardville introduces legislation to improve hunter safety and recruit young hunters in Michigan
LANSING — Senate Majority Leader-elect Randy Richardville has introduced legislation designed to improve hunter safety and encourage more young people in Michigan to hunt.
“Michigan currently has some of the most stringent regulations on youth hunting in the nation causing fewer young people to enjoy the outdoor sport,” said Richardville, R-Monroe. “The hunter safety program created by this legislation will stress the importance of learning how to hunt from an experienced adult or mentor. It will be a great way to recruit young hunters by placing their safety and proper hunting techniques at the forefront.”
Senate Bill 1589 would require the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) to create a “Mentored Youth Hunting Safety Program” that would give youth younger than 17 the opportunity to hunt with an adult hunting mentor.
Rather than focusing on a minimum hunting age, the NRC would establish specific guidelines for the program to allow young people to hunt with a licensed, experienced mentor at least 21 years old.
“The new hunting program will give parents the ability to decide when their children are mature enough to hunt,” Richardville said. “Some young people may be ready to hunt much sooner than others.”
From 1998-2008, the number of hunters in Michigan declined by 17 percent. For every 100 adult hunters in Michigan today, only 26 youth hunters take their place.
Hunters in Michigan spend nearly $1.3 billion each year in the state. Their spending supports approximately 19,500 in jobs and produces about $153 million in state tax revenue annually.
“Hunting is an active family-friendly outdoor activity, and Michigan’s heritage is rich with hunting families,” Richardville said. “Hunters who learn from a parent or mentor at an early age will carry safe habits with them the rest of their lives.”
Posted: Friday, November 12, 2010
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