Youths would be able to get a hunting license without first taking a hunter's education course under legislation now on Utah's Capitol Hill. The no-class licenses would be granted only on a trial basis.
"As long as an adult goes with them, it would allow them to go hunting to see if they like, before they go through all the time and effort needed for a hunter's education class," said Senate Majority Leader Ralph Okerlund, R-Monroe, sponsor of newly filed SB165 that would allow the change.
It would allow someone as young as 11 to obtain the "trial" permit, but they must be at least 12 before actually using a firearm or archery equipment. They must be accompanied by a licensed hunter who is at least 21.
Okerlund said he is offering the bill at the request of the Division of Wildlife Resources. The measure would allow DWR to set the rules and cost for the permit.
"A number of other states are also doing it, and the bill is modeled after their programs," Okerlund said. He adds that it would help more youth to at least try hunting and the outdoors "and do something instead of video games."
A traditional Utah hunter's education course costs $10 and requires a minimum of 12 hours, usually meeting one or two nights a week. Online courses are also available, but still require an in-person field day with a minimum of five hours.