March 25, 2011
Idaho Becomes 31st State to Pass Families Afield Legislation
Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter has signed into law House Bill 85, making Idaho the 31st state to pass Families Afield legislation since the program’s inception in 2004.
The new law will allow the Idaho Fish and Game Commission to establish a mentored hunting program. The mentored hunting program would allow newcomers to try hunting under the watchful eye of an experienced mentor prior to the completion of a hunter education course.
To date, 31 states have passed Families Afield-style laws, and new statistics show that more than 598,532 apprentice licenses have been sold since the program began. Additionally, the safety rate of the supervised apprentices has exceeded that of the average hunter.
Even more encouraging is data from a study on the first class of apprentices from the state of Ohio that began in 2006. Over the three-year period, roughly half of the purchasers of apprentice licenses continued hunting.
The Families Afield initiative was established by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance and National Wild Turkey Federation. The National Rifle Association and the National Assembly of Sportsmen Caucuses have also joined the Families Afield coalition with the common goal of reducing barriers to hunting.