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Ohio Hunting Mentorship Program


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Author Topic: Ohio Hunting Mentorship Program  (Read 95 times)
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« on: December 10, 2006, 06:34:50 pm »

(Columbus) – Legislation designed to improve hunter recruitment rates in Ohio has been signed into law.  The effort is part of the Families Afield campaign established by a partnership of sportsmen’s organizations to aid in the recruitment of new hunters, nationwide.

On Feb. 14, Gov. Bob Taft signed HB 296, introduced by Rep. Steven Beuhrer, R-Delta, to allow licensed, mentor hunters to take apprentice hunters into the field prior to the completion of hunter education certification.  Before becoming fully licensed, the apprentice must complete hunter education.

The concept for the Families Afield bill was established by the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA), National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) and National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) after results of a study called the Youth Hunting Report revealed declining youth involvement in outdoor sports and pointed to reasons for the sliding numbers.

“The success of this bill proves that legislators and the governor recognize the need to focus on hunter recruitment in Ohio,” said USSA President Bud Pidgeon.  “Barriers that once existed and prevented newcomers from trying the sport will be eliminated, which will mean good things for the future of hunting.”

Currently, Ohio recruits 76 hunters for every 100 that retire from the sport. The new law will help boost that ratio.

“The new law will encourage young people and other newcomers to take part in Ohio’s rich outdoor heritage,” said Ron Fretts, past president and current board member of the NWTF. “Replenishing the hunting community is important to all Ohioans because sportsmen generate nearly 90 percent of all dollars spent for wildlife conservation in the state.”

Representatives of the Families Afield partner organizations as well as several state conservation leaders were on hand for the bill signing. Bud Pidgeon, USSA president; Rob Sexton, USSA vice president for government affairs; Mike Budzik, USSA director of conservation and recruitment; Ron Fretts, NWTF board member; Walt Ingram, NWTF Regional Director for Ohio; Larry Mitchell, president of the League of Ohio Sportsmen; and Larry Moore, Ohio hunter education instructor attended.  Also present were Ohio Department of Natural Resources Director Sam Speck and Chief of the Ohio Division of Wildlife Steve Gray.

Doug Painter, president of NSSF, who was unable to attend the signing, also saluted the passage of HB 296.

"Hunting is revered in our country's character and economy,” said Painter. “It's indelibly tied to conservation and is statistically safe. It adds richness to the lives of participants. We shouldn't allow unnecessary restrictions to compromise its future.”

The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance 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, www.ussportsmen.org.
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