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New York Working to Lessen Youth Hunting Barriers

From U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance

-- Youth hunting restrictions in New York could be reduced if the New York State Assembly passes a pending measure.

Senate Bill 1284, introduced by Senator Dale Volker (R-Depew), will allow 14- and 15-year-olds to hunt big game with a firearm under mentored conditions.  The bill is based on the Families Afield initiative started by the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance (USSA), National Shooting Sports Foundation and National Wild Turkey Federation.

New York has the most restrictive regulations for youth hunting in the country.  Research conducted by Families Afield partners revealed that recruitment efforts are much more successful in states where parents decide when their sons and daughters begin to hunt.  At the same time, the research demonstrated that hunting is actually safer in states where parents have more discretion.

Currently in New York, youth under the age of 16 are not permitted to hunt big game with firearms.  This bill would allow 14- and 15-year-olds to hunt big game with a firearm while under the supervision of an experienced mentor.  The mentor must be a licensed hunter and at least 21 years of age.  The youth must have a junior small game hunting license and remain within arms-length of the mentor while hunting.

The bill passed the State Senate with overwhelming support and is now being heard by the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee.

"We encourage the Assembly to pass this important legislation that will allow parents to pass on their hunting traditions to the next generation," said Rob Sexton, USSA vice president for government affairs.

The Families Afield campaign was established by the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance, National Shooting Sports Foundation and National Wild Turkey Federation in 2004 to urge states to eliminate unnecessary hunting age restrictions and ease hunter education mandates for first-time hunters.

Take Action!  New York sportsmen should contact their Assembly members today to encourage their support of SB 1284.  If you do not know your Assembly member's name or contact information, call (518) 455-4218 or use the Legislative Action Center at www.ussportsmen.org.

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