Hunting just became more accessible to both youth and first-time hunters with regulatory amendments to the Wildlife Act confirmed Saturday by Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson.
The amendments 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. This change will make it easier for young people 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,” said Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.
“These changes will help introduce a new generation of outdoor enthusiasts to this tradition."
The amendments also create 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.
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. It is anticipated that the new licence options will promote hunting uptake among B.C. residents and provide another opportunity for families to get out and enjoy B.C.'s backcountry.
"The BCWF and our members are pleased to see the implementation of the expanded Youth Hunting Licence and new Initiation Hunting Licence,” said Bill Bosch, president of the B.C. Wildlife Federation.
“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."
- Hunting, trapping, angling and wildlife viewing are collectively worth about $1.3 billion to the province's economy.
- The government is introducing the new Initiation Hunting Licence at $19
- ($15 licence fee plus $4 Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation surcharge). The cost of the Youth Hunting Licence is still only $7.
To learn more about the new Youth Hunting Licence and Initiation Hunting Licence, visit here.