September 30, 2010 (Sacramento)-- Governor Schwarzenegger this week signed legislation by Senate Republican Leader Dennis Hollingsworth (R-Murrieta) providing for two free hunting days in California per year. The bill, SB 1179 is similar to the existing two “free fishing” days per year for fishing without a license.
“This new law provides a low-cost opportunity for those who are interested in hunting to be able to explore the sport with another experienced individual,” said Hollingsworth. “With passage of this bill, Californians will be able to join licensed hunters in this time-honored activity, a sport and a pastime with deep roots in our nation’s culture.”
SB 1179 allows novice hunters, under conditions approved by the California Department Fish and Game, to hunt up to two days per year when accompanied by experienced, licensed hunters. The bill was supported by groups ranging from the National Rifle Association to Sierra Club California.
“Responsible, licensed hunters provide tremendous means for wildlife conservation in California. Hunters are correctly said to be the original conservationists. Therefore, bringing more hunters into the fold isn’t just good for the continuance of the sport, it’s essential for conserving wildlife,” said Hollingsworth, whose district includes most of East San Diego County as well as southern Riverside County.
Hunters spend $21 billion dollars a year nationwide, often spending their money for food, supplies, and lodging in rural areas that have been hard hit during the current economic recession. SB 1179 encourages the growth of responsible sport hunting in California, expanding economic opportunities for many areas that continue to be wracked by record high unemployment.
A Senate Appropriations Committee analysis estimated that the measure would cost the state $180,000 in lost revenues from hunting licenses and an additional $130,000 in enforcement costs on the free hunting days.