Elected to the Tennessee State Senate in 2010, Senator Mike Bell currently represents District 09 in the Tennessee State Senate. Senator Bell previously served two terms in the Tennessee State House of Representatives before seeking his current Senate seat. He joined the Tennessee Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus in 2010.
While serving in the Tennessee House of Representatives, Senator Bell passed House Bill 0961 in 2009. This bill allowed carry permit holders to possess a firearm in a refuge, public hunting area, or a wildlife management area. In 2014, Senator Bell sponsored Senate Bill 1777, amending Tennessee’s hunter harassment laws by prohibiting anti-hunting radicals from using drones to interfere with those lawfully hunting or fishing. Senator Bell’s bill ensures the future protection of hunters during their pursuits. He also passed Senate Bill 1771 in 2014 which legalized the possession and transportation of switchblade knives and knives with a blade length in excess of four inches.
In February 2015, Senator Bell sponsored Senate Bill 1237, allowing apprentice hunters to purchase a permit at a fee for up to three consecutive years exempting them from hunter’s education courses, as long as they are accompanied by a licensed adult. The legislation encourages young people who are not hunters to experience the sport without having to commit substantial financial resources and/or time to experience the sport.
Tennessee is home to over one million hunters and anglers that support over 25,000 jobs in the Volunteer State. They also contribute $1.8 billion annually to the state’s economy.
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- Lack of access to hunting areas (26.03%)
- Lack of a mentor or instructor to take them (24.66%)
- Age limit restrictions on when they can purchase a license (1.37%)
- Lack of time or competing interests (19.18%)
- Technology (social media, phones, computers) (10.96%)
- Perceived negative public or peer-group opinions (17.81%)