by Bruce Ingram - Friday, June 15, 2018
We hunters know that introducing our beloved heritage to newcomers, at any age, is essential to maintaining the future of hunting. Thankfully, programs such as the NRA’s Youth Hunter Education Challenge and NRA-backed Families Afield have made significant headway in encouraging states to create some form of an apprentice hunting license, providing novice youth and adult individuals an opportunity to hunt with an experienced, licensed mentor before completing a hunter education course.
Sherry Crumley, former board member of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF), emphasized that assisting with the institution of the apprentice license in 2008 was one of her proudest achievements while serving. According to Crumley, apprentice licenses are beneficial for the following reasons.
Lee Walker, outreach director for the Virginia Game Department, believes the state’s apprentice license program has been a huge success. “Recruiting new hunters is essential to maintaining Virginia’s long and popular hunting heritage,” Walker said. “The apprentice hunting license is one of many effective mentoring programs offered by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. The main benefit of the program is that it encourages people, both young and old, to give the sport a try without having completed a hunter education course.”
Apprentice licenses have proven to be a superlative tool for state game departments in increasing the number of new hunters. According to Walker, an average of 4,000 people have purchased an apprentice license each year since 2008 in Virginia. “The apprentice license has had an excellent impact on our hunting recruitment efforts and has helped to slow the decline in hunting license sales.”
For more information on apprentice licenses, visit your local State Game Department website.
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