Utah bill advances to allow hunting before taking hunter-ed class
A "try it before you buy it" bill, SB165, to allow hunters to sample hunting before taking hunter-education classes, unanimously passed the Senate Natural Resources Committee on Thursday.
"The intent is to allow individuals the opportunity to try hunting, to go out in the field with someone who is a licensed hunter to experience and try it before going through entire process for hunter-education courses," said its sponsor, Senate Majority Leader Ralph Okerlund, R-Monroe.
Robin Cahoon, marketing coordinator for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, said 35 other states offer such programs to try to increase the number of hunters and boost revenue from licenses to help better manage herds and habitat.
"If we don't ensure that there are more people continuing to participate in this sport moving into the future," she said, "this sport won't continue to exist."
A traditional Utah hunter-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.