Realtree understands the importance of encouraging youth to experience the abundance of the great outdoors. That’s why David Blanton recently visited the Georgia State Capitol to show Realtree’s support for the Georgia Youth Passport Act — a new initiative that encourages youth participation in hunting and fishing.
On Jan. 22, 2018, Georgia’s Lt. Governor Casey Cagle and Senator Tyler Harper, chairman of the Senate Natural Resources Committee, introduced the act, which is aimed at encouraging youth to experience the abundance of rich outdoor resources and recreational opportunities unique to Georgia.
“This legislation removes a hurdle by allowing youth to temporarily bypass the hunter safety course while they get a feel for hunting with a mentor,” Blanton said. “I told members of the House committee that we at Realtree support this legislation. I explained that I had traveled around the country for Realtree for more than 25 years, and I have always been amazed at other states that have similar legislation. I think it’s a great idea to give kids the opportunity to test the waters with a mentor before they have to spend hours taking the course. This bill’s importance is obvious to everyone at Realtree. We are not recruiting as many youth into hunting and fishing as we once did. So, it is critical we do everything in our power to get kids outdoors.”
In a press releas posted on CaseyCagle.com, Cagle said, “It’s concerning that every year fewer Georgians are participating in hunting and fishing activities across our state. This reduces the resources we have available to protect and preserve Georgia’s natural habitat, making it harder to keep rangers in the field enforcing our safe hunting and fishing laws. This program will help create a pathway for new hunters and anglers to learn the sport and develop a lifetime of recreation that will teach them the importance of the natural world and help them put food on the table.”
Specifically, the legislation:
- Establishes the Outdoor Passport License Program, which allows first-time Georgia hunters and anglers of all ages to receive an Outdoor Passport License – granting them the ability to fish and hunt many different types of game at a reduced cost during their first year participating in the program.
- Offers discounted licenses to those who complete the program and elect to purchase licenses for the next season.
- Creates an outdoor mentor training program at the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), allowing Georgia hunters and anglers to teach our state’s celebrated pasttimes to the next generation so they too can enjoy nature’s beauty.
- Provides mentors who participate in the program incentives to encourage more seasoned outdoorsmen/women to register.
Harper said, “Georgia is blessed with many rich outdoor traditions. It is important that we pass along these traditions to the next generation of outdoorsmen. We must be connected to our food supply and understand how the decisions we make impact our state’s natural resources. Promoting these sports through an experienced network will teach more Georgians both how to perform these activities and how to do them in a safe and respectful way.”
Contact your Georgia state senator today and respectfully urge him or her to support SB 332 when it comes up for a vote on the Senate floor. Not sure who represents you in the Georgia Senate? Check NSSF’s Legislative Action Center to find out (be sure to scroll down for your state senator).