Hunting just became more accessible to both youth and first-time hunters with regulatory amendments to the Wildlife Act confirmed by Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson at the Oceola Fish & Game Club annual banquet.
The amendments are being brought in to hopefully benefit resident hunters through an expanded Youth Hunting Licence and a new Initiation Hunting Licence, both of which will be effective for the 2013/14 hunting season.
The changes to the Youth Hunting Licence now make it available for youth aged 10 to 17 years inclusive. Previously, the age range of the Youth (‘junior’) Hunting Licence was 10 to 13 years. According to the release from the ministry, this change have been put in place to make it easier for youth ages 14 to 17 to give hunting a try and to have more mentorship opportunities.
“Hunting will always be an integral part of the social fabric of British Columbia and these changes will help introduce a new generation of outdoor enthusiasts to this tradition,” said Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Steve Thomson.
The amendments have also created a new Initiation Hunting Licence, a mentoring licence that allows a person 18 years or older, who has never previously held a hunting licence in B.C., to try hunting for a one-year period. It is a one-time-only licence.
“The BCWF and our members are pleased to see the implementation of the expanded Youth Hunting Licence and new Initiation Hunting Licence. These changes will provide increased opportunities for youth to try hunting for the first time and will give experienced hunters a chance to foster responsible hunting and appreciation for wildlife and conservation in British Columbia,” said the president of the B.C. Wildlife Federation, Bill Bosch.
Both licence options represent an opportunity for those new to hunting to try the experience with a limited commitment and under the supervision of an experienced mentor.