On May 4, Governor Larry Hogan, a member of the Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus, signed House Bill 1427 into law. This legislation establishes an apprentice hunting license, which will allow new hunters to hunt under supervision of a licensed hunter. HB 1427 was sponsored by Delegate Herb McMillan, a member of the Maryland Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus.
More than 1.7 million people have participated in apprentice hunting programs across the United States. By expanding the range of eligibility in apprentice hunting programs through innovative approaches like HB 1427, as well as through other hunter recruitment and retention efforts, states can ensure a sustainable funding stream for conservation through the American System of Conservation Funding. Under this unique “user-pays, public-benefits” system, revenues from hunting and fishing license sales and excise taxes collected on the sale of firearms, ammunition, archery equipment, fishing tackle, and motorboat fuel fund state fish and wildlife management efforts.
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?