Pennsylvania license sales bump illustrates the success of Families Afield
Pennsylvania is again reaping
the rewards of itsexpanded efforts at recruiting new sportsmen into
the fold through their Mentored Youth Hunting Program.
According to the state Game
Commission, Pennsylvania sold nearly 30,000 mentored youth hunting
permits during the 2009-2010 hunting season alone. This brings the
state’s total to over 100,000 Mentored Youth Licenses sold since
passing a Families Afield measure in 2005.
This success illustrates the effectiveness of
the Families Afield Program, developed by the U.S. Sportsmen’s
Alliance (USSA), the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and
the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), at reducing barriers
and encouraging the participation of newcomers.
As a direct result of the
program, Pennsylvania has seen an increase in the number of hunting
licenses it has sold.
Pennsylvania’s Mentored Youth
Hunting Program was authorized when Gov. Ed Rendell signed HB 1690
on Dec. 22, 2005. The bill was part of the Families Afield campaign
which continues as a nationwide joint effort between
the founding organizations. Since its beginning in 2004, 30
states, most recently Vermont earlier this year, have enacted measures
resulting in over 418,000 new hunters.
“The Families Afield initiative
has always been about getting reducing barriers for new hunters
entering the field,” said Bud Pidgeon, USSA president and CEO.
“Pennsylvania is the hallmark of how successful the Families
Afield program can become for the many states that have embraced
it over the last six years.”
In addition to more youth
licenses sold, the Commission has also recently hired a recruitment
and retention coordinator to keep the new hunters engaged in the
outdoors. This includes the publication of a “Youth Hunting Guide”
and connecting Pennsylvania students to the National Archery in the
Schools Program, which teaches archery in physical education
classes for fourth through 12th graders.