Two proposed bills will increase opportunities for youth looking to go hunting and fishing in Utah.
The House Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Committee anonymously proposed two bills that will give more opposites for youth to go hunting and fishing in the Beehive State.
One of the bills, dubbed HB106, will remove the age restriction for commercial hunting areas, and will also allow hunters 12 and older to hunt in commercial hunting through the state’s Trail Hunting Program. The program allows hunters younger than 14 to hunt small game under adult supervision without having to take hunters education.
Robin Cahoon, a legislative liaison for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, said the age restriction lift for hunting will not affect normal trends of hunting accidents.
“There have been instances where there have been hunting accidents involving youth, but that was not something that was new to the sport of hunting when that change was made. There have been incidents involving youth on and off,” Cahoon told reporters.
Currently, people under 14 can hunt in Utah if they have completed hunter’s education and are accompanied by an adult in the field.
The other bill, HB125, will raises the age exemption for people who purchase fishing licenses for group activities. The DWR has permitted kids younger than 14 to fish without a license for school or youth organization activities if led by an adult who has a valid fishing license. The bill will set the age limit at 16. David Willis, a Utah Boy Scout leader, told reporters, “This bill will help a lot of young boys that still come on campouts.”
When asked about the proposed changes to hunting and fishing in Utah, Cahoon told reporters,”Our hope is they’ll go out and have a good experience in their activities with their youth groups and then decide they want to do that all of the time outside of these official activities and purchase licenses.”