Illinois: Legislation to Expand Apprentice & Youth Deer Hunting opportunities heads to Governor’s Desk

Contact: Nick Buggia, Upper Midwestern States Manager

Earlier this month, Illinois HB 3623, which proposes expanding apprentice hunting opportunities in the state, passed both Houses. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation strongly supports this important bill.

HB 3623 amends the current law allowing individuals to apply for an apprentice hunting license more than once.  If signed into law, the bill would remove the “one-time” stipulation, allowing novice hunters the opportunity to take advantage of a mentor hunt multiple times until they feel comfortable taking the next step.

The bill is sponsored by Representative Michael Zalewski, who amended the bill since it was introduced in the previous legislature to add a pilot program establishing a state-wide youth deer license. 

“I realize the important role sportsmen and women play in conserving the fish and wildlife of Illinois, and I have always encouraged individuals to participate in outdoor activities,” said Rep. Zalewski. “I feel that hunting and fishing are great ways for young adults and families to experience all the natural resources Illinois has to offer, and I am pleased that the bill received so much overwhelming support. I look forward to the Governor signing it into law.”

Apprentice hunting provides both youth and adult novice hunters the opportunity to hunt under the supervision of a licensed hunter before they have completed their hunter education course. Hunting opportunities may be limited for a new hunter, so it is important that these apprentice hunters are able to apply for the license more than once.

The bill also includes a statewide youth deer hunting license pilot program which will allow a youth hunter to purchase one license and use it on all public lands around the state open to youth deer hunting. Currently, these licenses are issued by county. 

The bill passed every step of the legislative process unanimously and is now on its way to the Governor’s desk.  

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