On September 19, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law California AB 1709, a bill aimed at bolstering youth hunting participation opportunities.
AB 1709, sponsored by Assembly Member Jim Frazier, Democratic Co-Chair of the California Outdoor Sporting Caucus, raises the eligibility for youth hunting licenses from 16 years of age to 18. This allows youth hunters to continue buying a California hunting license at the base fee of $8.25, so long as they are under the age of 18 on July 1 of the licensing year in question. The fee and age provisions contained in the bill apply to resident and non-resident youth hunters alike, allowing more opportunities for the younger generation to enjoy hunting opportunities in California. Raising the maximum age for youth hunting licenses also allows more youth hunters in California to participate in youth-specific hunting opportunities that are administered by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Given that the Golden State’s nearly 400,000 hunters spend $1.1 billion annually in pursuit of their passions, and support over 20,600 California jobs, it is crucial that future generations of Californians foster an appreciation for the state’s wildlife and other natural resources. Keeping California’s strong hunting traditions alive in turn ensures funding for wildlife conservation in the state through excise taxes collected on the sale of sportsmen-related outdoor gear, and the sale of licenses, tags, and permits.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?