Many sportsmen believe that young hunters should learn the craft from their parents, just as they do with soccer, baseball, and other youth activities. Hunters’ safety courses have their place, but are seen by many as over-restrictive. For example, if you wanted your son or daughter to learn lacrosse or to play the trumpet, much of the motivation would be lost by requiring hours of classroom instruction with a test at the end. Pennsylvania is about to join 33 other states that have adopted the Families Afield program, and all prospective hunter parents should be attuned to its progress. The United States Sportsmen’s Alliance is a strong advocate for hunter’s rights and has the full story.

A bill that would expand the popular and widely acclaimed Mentored Youth Hunting program in Pennsylvania to allow adult participation recently passed the legislature and is awaiting approval of Governor Tom Corbett.  The bill, Senate Bill 623 introduced by Senator’s Jake Corman (R-Bellefonte) and Wayne Fontana (D-Pittsburgh), allows those ages 12 and older to try hunting under the watchful eye of an experienced mentor prior to completing hunter education. Also known as “apprentice hunting,” this try-before-you-buy philosophy is the hallmark of the Families Afield campaign.

MD Spring Turkey 09 071Pennsylvania was the first state to pass Families Afield when it established the Mentored Youth Hunting program in 2006. Since then, a total of 34 states have enacted Families Afield changes resulting in more than 1,000,000 apprentice or mentored hunting licenses being sold.  “Mentored hunting has been demonstrated to be a safe and successful way to…

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Joe Byers
Joe Byers has more than 1,000 magazine articles in print and is currently a field editor with Whitetail Journal, Predator Xtreme, Whitetails Unlimited, Crossbow Revolution, and African Hunting Journal magazines. He’s spent the last three decades depicting the thrill of the chase and photographing the majesty of all things wild. Byers is a member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association and numerous other professional and conservation organizations.