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Bill Promoting Family Outdoor Traditions by Expanding Youth Hunting Opportunities Passes Legislature

Senate Bill 77 allows more flexibility for Board of Game to Establish Hunts

JUNEAU-The Alaska State Legislature has unanimously passed a bill aimed to promote responsible hunting with youth in Alaska. Senate Bill 77, sponsored by Senator Peter Micciche (R-Soldotna), which will give the Board of Game more flexibility to establish youth hunts by removing language which used to require youth seasons to be held before school starts.

“This bill is about handing off Alaska’s hunting traditions to the next generation,” said Senator Micciche. “Alaskan outdoor hunting traditions are best passed on by ensuring youth are trained appropriately through hunter education classes and that there is an adequate transfer of safety practices, skills and traditions from adults they respect.  Aside from the facilitating a nourishing winter supply of natural foods, the bill also encourages hunting as a family.”

In addition, SB77 also allows a bag limit change during youth hunts for Sitka blacktail deer in areas where the limit is one deer. Currently, during a youth hunt, law requires both the youth hunter and the adult hunter’s tags to be punched whenever an animal is harvested. While this is not a problem for larger game such as moose and caribou which provide a large of amount of meat, the same is not true for the Sitka blacktail deer. SB77 amends the law to require that only the youth’s tag is punched so the adult can hunt for a deer later in the season in order to provide enough meat for the family. The bill was also amended to allow Alaskan grandparents to take their grandchildren on youth hunts here in Alaska.

Co-sponsor of the bill, Senator Pete Kelly (R-Fairbanks) said, “My most valuable and important memories growing up were from hunting experiences with my family and I’ll never forget those experiences. SB 77 will help bring Alaskan generations together by simplifying the process for youth hunts to occur in more locations throughout Alaska.”

“We are concerned by a waning interest in the outdoors. Encouraging youth to responsibly participate and carry on Alaska’s great hunting tradition and outdoor heritage is very important for youth development and it allows families to spend more time teaching their children how to hunt safely and responsibly,” said Senator Micciche. “I think this bill will create many more opportunities for Alaskan children to safely learn about one of the things that make Alaska such an incredible place to live.”

Ted Spraker, Chairman of the Alaska Board of Game said, “We appreciate Senator Micciche and Senator Kelly for their hard work on this bill. The introduction and passage of SB77 will enable the Board of Game to adopt hunting seasons for youth hunters during a time of the year when caring for meat is more suitable and there exists a greater opportunity for success.”

Senate Bill 77 now heads to Governor Parnell for his signature.

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