The Georgia Youth Outdoors Passport Act (Senate Bill 332), sponsored by Natural Resources Committee Chairman Sen. Tyler Harper and cosponsored by National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses (NASC) Executive Council President and Natural Resources Committee Vice-Chair Senator Bill Heath, aims to assist in the recruitment of new hunters and anglers by establishing an outdoor mentor program and the outdoor passport license program.
Senate Bill 332 would “establish and maintain an outdoor mentor program that enables experienced hunters and [anglers] to mentor new hunters and fishers in safe, ethical, and responsible hunting and fishing practices.” The program includes a required mentor education course to provide instruction for potential mentors, incentives for mentors and mentees, and discounted licenses for those who complete the program and elect to purchase licenses for the next season.
The Outdoor Passport License Program, would allow first time participants of all ages to hunt and fish at a reduced cost during their first year participating with the Outdoor Passport License and would be valid for one full year after issuance. The year-long program would provide increased flexibility and opportunities to the current apprentice program.
Regarding the legislation, Sen. Heath noted, “Ultimately, the Outdoor Passport along with the mentor outdoor program geared towards hunting and fishing will hopefully ignite a passion for the outdoors as a lifelong activity, provide a safe and memorable first-time hunting or fishing experience, and teach safe and ethical hunting/fishing practices. The one-on-one mentoring opportunity provides Georgia youth the chance to experience some of Georgia’s most sacred pastimes and enables veteran hunters to pass on their passion for the outdoors.”
The bill passed the Senate unanimously and is currently awaiting consideration in the House.
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- Lack of access to hunting areas (17.79%)
- Lack of a mentor or instructor to take them (25.77%)
- Age limit restrictions on when they can purchase a license (1.23%)
- Lack of time or competing interests (17.18%)
- Technology (social media, phones, computers) (16.56%)
- Perceived negative public or peer-group opinions (21.47%)