October 27, 2021

Wisconsin Families Afield Bill Approved by Senate Committee

Press Release from the Sportsmen’s Alliance:

On Jan. 5, the Wisconsin Sporting Heritage, Mining and Forestry Committee approved legislation that would allow parents to decide at which age their kids begin to hunt. The bill also removes a prohibition that prevented both mentors and newcomers from using a firearm or bow on a hunt. Senate Bill 301 represents the latest progress by Families Afield, a national coalition founded by the Sportsmen’s Alliance, the National Shooting Sports Foundation and the National Wild Turkey Federation. The coalition’s mission, which is also supported by the National Rifle Association and Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, is to lower the barriers that prevent newcomers from trying hunting.

Wisconsin originally became a Families Afield state in 2009 by establishing a mentored hunting program that allowed an experienced mentor to take a newcomer hunting prior to the completion of hunter education. Previously, young people could not begin hunting until age 12, and were required to complete hunter education to be eligible.

However, the legislature left two significant restrictions in place that need to be addressed. While mentored hunting is permissible, the state requires that participants must be at least 10 years of age. Only seven Families Afield states have an age restriction this high, while 34 allow parents to make the decision about when their kids begin to hunt. Second, Wisconsin is one of only four Families Afield states that prohibit both the mentor and the apprentice to possess a firearm or bow. The rest allow the mentor to make that decision. Both of these restrictions are a disincentive to hunting participation. Research continues to prove year after year that mentored hunters are the safest hunters in the woods.

Senate Bill 301, sponsored by Terry Moulton, R-Chippewa Falls, would remove both the 10-year-old restriction and the one-gun requirement. The changes, which brings Wisconsin in line with neighboring Michigan and Minnesota, were approved by the committee by a vote of 3-2. SB 301 is supported in Wisconsin by the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, Wisconsin Bowhunters Association and the Wisconsin Chapters of Safari Club International.

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Then Just Give Up, Loser!

The master dichotomist, who wrongly divides untruths, seizes his own truth declaring all others wrong, is at it again. A few days ago, he told us that it was wrong to change the governing process to anything he was opposed to. Not that the Dichotomist is opposed to attempting to govern of and by the people but only if it fits a prescribed narrative that he embraces, evidently.

The other day, he attempted to convince readers of the Bangor Daily News that it is wrong to find ways of pushing back against the wrongful and perverted ways of the animal rights agenda by distorting the truth with a mission to mislead.

According to the Master Dichotomist, if Maine people teach their children to hunt, it will make them mass murderers. Very few sane people can make that connection.

In addition, he pretends to not understand that there is a difference between the Humane Society of the United States, and other perverted environmental and animal rights groups, marching into the State of Maine and setting up camp to change the way Maine people choose to live, and a grass roots organization in Maine seeking any help it can get from deeper-pocketed organizations to fight against the totalitarian socialists.

This is another example of why I choose to label these people as totalitarian socialists. Not only do they twist facts, they believe they control the process in which people can oppose the environmentalists’ slavery agenda. Any effort to oppose their agendas, meets with scoff and ridicule, attempting to place those in opposition, in actuality, the same realm as themselves – wrong to use the designed channels they have mastered to gain power and control.

The Master Dichotomist seems to intimate that the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine and all of those who might support the effort to increase the base of hunters in Maine by offering residents a chance to become involved in the Families Afield Program, as a futile effort. Because, he thinks hunting is a dinosaur, outdoor sportsmen should just give up and join the perverts who worship animals over humans.

Of the thirteen states that have an apprentice hunting program, Families Afield, the one-million new hunters have yet to step up as mass murderers.

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Major Milestone for Families Afield – 1 Million New Hunters!

National Program Reduced Barriers, Created Opportunities for Newcomers

NEWTOWN, Conn. –The future of hunting is brighter today than it was nearly a decade ago thanks to the extraordinary success of Families Afield, an innovative program that has introduced 1 million newcomers to hunting.

This impressive number demonstrates that interest in hunting remains high and that what’s needed to spark a lifelong passion for hunting is a proper introduction enabled by state regulations. With success in hand, Families Afield’s call to action is this: If your state offers an apprentice hunting license, make it a point to bring a newcomer along this hunting season; or if you’ve never gone hunting before, seek out a mentor and give it a try.

Launched in 2004, Families Afield was developed to increase the number of hunters to ensure a promising future for the tradition of hunting and conservation. Hunters provide the lion’s share of support for conservation through the purchases of hunting licenses and excise taxes paid on sales of firearms and ammunition.

“I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to be a hunter, so my dad told me we can get this apprentice hunting license and we can see if you like it,” said youth apprentice hunter Seth Wasilewski in a new Families Afield video that features youth and parents who have taken advantage of the program. Seth, who took his first deer that day, went on to complete his hunter education course and continues to hunt—a progression followed by so many other mentored hunters.

Families Afield is a model of cooperative effort by several major organizations. The program was founded in 2004 by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, National Wild Turkey Federation and the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance. The National Rifle Association and Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation are also coalition partners in the Families Afield program.

To achieve its mission, Families Afield focused on removing barriers such as age restrictions that were preventing sportsmen and women from passing hunting on to the next generation. Families Afield also encouraged states to establish an apprentice hunting license—a “try before you buy” concept that allowed newcomers to go afield with an experienced mentor before completing a hunter education course. Cumulative sales of apprentice hunting licenses have surpassed 1 million.

Today, 35 states have approved legislation making it easier for newcomers to try hunting with an experienced mentor.

“I don’t know that sitting in a classroom for two or three days would have sparked the same interest [in my son] as getting out in the woods and getting experience deer hunting,” said Greg Wasilewski, Seth’s father and mentor.

Added parent Andrew Wecker, who mentored his daughter and son, “If you have a parent out with a child, something good is going to happen from that, and for this family hunting has been a good thing for us.”

Program organizers say adding 1 million new hunters has had a ripple effect on overall participation because having a new hunter in a family often means other family members and friends become more active hunters or are reactivated.

Nearly 200,000 apprentice licenses were sold in 2012, according to a survey of state fish and wildlife agencies commissioned by the Families Afield partners. That brings the total since 2006 to 1,006,269 apprentice hunting licenses, making Families Afield one of the most successful hunter-recruitment programs.

Most apprentices are youth, but increasingly adults have taken advantage of apprentice licenses to determine if they enjoy the activity enough to complete the hunter education course required to purchase a hunting license on their own.

The Families Afield partners will be celebrating this “1 million milestone” in the coming weeks by releasing key findings regarding the effectiveness of the program. As noted by the latest Families Afield video, “It took five years to reach 1 million new hunters, but with your help we can reach 2 million a whole lot faster.”

Experienced hunters and those who want to try hunting should check their state’s hunting regulations for information about apprentice hunting licenses. More information about Families Afield can be found at www.FamiliesAfield.org.

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