A bill that would expand the popular Mentored Youth Hunting program in Pennsylvania to allow adult participation recently passed the legislature and is awaiting approval of Gov. Tom Corbett.

The bill, Senate Bill 623, introduced by Sens. 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.

“This expanded mentored hunting program has the potential to open many doors for new hunters and future conservationists in the state,” said Chris Dolnack, National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) senior vice president and chief marketing officer. “As a proud Pennsylvanian who still hunts the same land my family has hunted for generations, I am thankful for the legislature’s support for the future of hunting in the state.”

Pennsylvania 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 million apprentice- or mentored-hunting licenses being sold.

Families Afield was established by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance and National Wild Turkey Federation to bring a new generation of sportsmen to the field. Along with the National Rifle Association and the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, the coalition has worked to pass measures in 34 states since the program’s inception.

Logo courtesy National Shooting Sports Foundation

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