PASSED! Apprentice Hunter Bill But is it Good or Bad For Montana?
By Toby Trigger


The hotly debated hunter Apprentice bill HB 140 is now in effect.
This means that hunters between the ages of 10-12 may hunt with a mentor before they complete a hunter education class.

But the way the language reads now any hunter under the age of 12 who has taken hunter education class may not participate in the hunter apprentice program. This has infuriated many Montana families who want to go afield with their 10 year olds this season but can’t because of poorly written language.

The point of this bill was to get more young hunters in the field this Fall.  How can the FWP eliminate kids who have a REAL interest in hunting from participating while allowing other kids to hunt who may not even care?

In a letter from Wayde Cooperider the Outdoor Skills & Safety Supervisor to Montana hunter education instructors Wayde wrote:

All,

As you may already know the 2015 legislature passed legislation creating an Apprentice Hunting certificate which will be available beginning with this falls hunting season.

Here are some key facts about the apprentice certificate:

Apprentice certificates are available to persons who are 10-17 years old and who have not completed hunter education.

Taking hunter education makes a person ineligible to purchase the apprentice certificate.

A person may obtain an apprentice hunting certificate for no more than 2 license years.

The apprentice certificate has a $5 fee and permits the holder to purchase hunting licenses and permits under certain guidelines (see below).

A person holding an apprentice hunting certificate must be in the company of a mentor at all times when hunting.

A mentor must meet all of these requirements:

At least 21 years old

•Related to the person by blood, adoption, or marriage, be the legal guardian, or appointed by the person’s legal guardian

•Must have completed hunter education (if born after January 1, 1985)

•Must have a current Montana hunting license

•Agree to supervise closely the apprentice while in the field

•Confirm that the apprentice hunter is psychologically and physically prepared to hunt – (the mentor must be in possession of a completed form that FWP will provide.)

An apprentice hunter cannot:

Obtain a bow and arrow license without having completed bowhunter education (11 turning 12 years old)

•Obtain a hound training license

•Participate in a drawing with a limited quota

•Apply for a sheep license of any type.

•Purchase an elk license (unless 15 years old or older)

Internally, we are creating a process to address several of the requirements of the bill: the apprentice certificate; where and how it is issued; the mentor certification; tracking apprentice certificate purchase; and creating ARM rules to define several of the new statutory terms and conditions. I will keep you informed as we get these items completed and implemented.

Hunter Education Student Age

It will be important to remind parents of prospective students that hunter education certification makes a person ineligible to buy an apprentice certificate. We anticipate some requests from parents who would like their child to sit in on a course but not be certified. To address this, we are changing our policy so that students who attend our courses must do so only as registered students. 2

Our new policy will state that students must be at least 10 years old when they take a hunter education course and will be certified upon completion. We do not anticipate that you will get many requests for younger students in your classrooms once they learn that certification disqualifies them from the apprentice certificate.

Additionally, the online course registration system does not permit children under 11 to register for a course, and we will not change that feature. This means that requests for younger students to take a course will have to be approved by you and your regional information officer and those registrations must be entered manually.”

Wayde Cooperider

 

THE POINT OF THIS BILL WAS TO GET MORE KIDS IN THE FIELD THIS YEAR.  IT ISN’T ROCKT SCIENCE THAT ANY YOUNG HUNTER BETWEEN THE AGES OF 10-12 SHOULD BE ABLE TO HUNT WITH A MENTOR – ESPECIALLY IF THEY HAVE TAKEN HUNTER EDUCATION!

IF YOU AGREE PLEASE CALL YOUR FWP COMMISSIONERS AND TELL THEM TO CREATE AND PASS A COMMON SENSE ALLOWANCE FOR THESE YOUTH!

 

District 1

  • Gary Wolfe, Commissioner
  • 4722 Aspen Drive
    Missoula, MT 59802
  • Phone: (406) 493-9189
  • Term: January 1, 2017

 

 

Vermillion

  • District 2

  • Dan Vermillion, Chairman
  • PO Box 668
    Livingston, MT 59047
  • Phone: (406) 222-0624
  • Term: January 1, 2019

 

 

Stuker

  • District 3

  • Richard Stuker, Vice-Chairman
  • 1155 Boldt Road
    Chinook, MT 59523
  • Phone: (406) 357-3495
  • Term: January 1, 2017

 

 

Kerstein

  • District 4

  • Richard Kerstein, Commissioner
  • Box 685
    Scobey, MT 59263
  • Phone: (406) 783-8564
  • Term: January 1, 2019

 

 

Tourtlotte

  • District 5

  • Matthew Tourtlotte, Commissioner
  • 940 Blonco Circle
    Billings, MT 59105
  • Phone: (406) 698-9696
  • Term: January 1, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 






test