Senate Bull 623 is an amendment to the Pennsylvania Mentored Hunting Program, which was recently passed by the Legislature and is currently awaiting Governor Corbett’s signature.
In 2006, the Pennsylvania Game Commission launched the Mentored Youth Hunting Program in order to “create expanded youth hunting opportunities while maintaining safety afield.” Senate Bill 623 would greatly expand the mentored hunting program to include all new hunters.
Senate Bill 623 deletes the term “youth” in all references to the mentored hunting programs. This would allow any new hunter, as part of a mentored hunting program, to essentially “test the waters” before applying for a hunting license, which requires passage of the Hunter-Trapper Education course. Mentored hunters are still required to purchase a $2.70 permit, which grants the mentored hunter a tag for one antlered deer and one spring gobbler. The bill does limit the amount of time a person can remain in the mentored hunting program, however: hunters 17 years of age and older may only remain in the program for a total aggregate of three license years.
The specific exemptions granted to mentored hunters can be found in 34 Pa. C.S. § 2711(a)(1), (3), (5), and (8) and include exemptions for mentored hunters from the license requirement, prohibitions on transferring licenses, tagging requirements (provided they pay the $2.70 for mentored hunter tags), and, of course, the age limitations. The bill does not change the requirements for mentors, however. They are still required to be licensed hunters aged 21 years or older.
Written by Allen Thompson, reviewed and approved by Attorney Joshua Prince