Contact: John Culclasure, Southeastern States Assistant Director
On September 17, legislation that would expand the apprentice hunting license program passed the South Carolina Senate. This legislation previously passed the House on April 3, 2019 and will advance to the Governor’s desk once ratified.
Sponsored by South Carolina Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus (Caucus) Member Representative Bobby Cox, House Bill 3800 would remove the limitation on the number of apprentice licenses that a person may purchase. Individuals are currently prohibited from purchasing more than one apprentice license. Apprentice licenses support hunter recruitment efforts by providing novice hunters with an opportunity to hunt on a “try-before-you-buy” basis under the supervision of an experienced and licensed hunter.
Leading up to the special session this week, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) worked with the Caucus and Families Afield partners to encourage the Senate Fish, Game and Forestry Committee to schedule a hearing. Subsequently, CSF submitted a letter of support for the expansion of the apprentice hunting license program.
The letter stated, “As is often the case with trying new experiences, new hunters successfully transition to being a fully licensed hunter with more time and experience in the field. By removing the current one-year limitation on apprentice hunting licenses, we would submit that more South Carolinians would ultimately become fully licensed hunters.” The letter also stressed the importance of recruiting new hunters to conservation funding and the state’s economy.
Prior to the legislature gaveling in, the bill was recalled and placed on the Senate calendar. The bill then passed the Senate on a 41-0 vote.
CSF would like to extend our gratitude to Senator Chip Campsen, Representative Bobby Cox and other members of the Caucus for their work advancing this important legislation.
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?