By Miriam Raftery
July 18, 2010 (Sacramento) – Being a lame duck legislator (leaving office in January due to term limits) hasn’t stopped Senator Dennis Hollingsworth from authoring legislation to create two free days a year for hunting ducks and other wild game without a license.
The San Diego Republican’s Senate Bill 1179 has passed the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee, after already winning approval from the State Senate. It will next be heard by the Assembly Committee on Appropriations.
Ironically, the bill to promote hunting has support from some conservation groups, including the Sierra Club, as well as sportsman’s clubs. That’s because hunters spend significant dollars on conserving habitat –so a decline in popularity of hunting means less money for conservation efforts. The bil aims to put more money into state coffers ultimately from hunting license fees among new hunters encouraged to buy licenses.
The measure has been opposed by the California Department of Fish and Game. Arguments against the bill include concerns over public safety and potential liability for the state.
Originally, SB 1179 would have allowed minors to hunt unsupervised. An amendment adopted in committee requires adult supervision by a hunter licensed in California. Those hunting free would not be allowed to take species that require a draw or lottery, or that require a federal stamp. Unlicensed hunters would be required to complete an online hunter safety course.