Terminally Ill Youth Hunting Opportunities

Summary

Opportunities exist across the country to enrich the lives of terminally ill youth by facilitating hunting and fishing opportunities for them, at no cost. This charitable mission provides truly invaluable life experiences for these children to take part in America’s sportsmen’s heritage. Many states have passed legislation allowing state fish and wildlife agencies to quickly and efficiently provide terminally ill individuals with opportunities to hunt and fish

Introduction

There exists a special opportunity across the country to enrich the lives of terminally ill youth by facilitating no-cost hunting and fishing opportunities that will provide them with truly invaluable life experiences. The idea of offering these special opportunities to terminally ill youth is not new, and has long been a goal of many well-known hunting and conservation organizations. State legislators are now also joining this charitable mission. Thirteen states, including Washington, New Hampshire, Michigan, and Oregon have introduced legislation that would allow for special hunting and fishing permits, in some cases out of season, for these individuals. 

History

  • On October 17, 2008, terminally ill hunting legislation in New Hampshire allowed a nine year old boy to go on a successful moose hunt. He suffers from a rare incurable autoimmune disease but could not have been happier on that day.
  • On March 15, 2010, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour approved House Bill 1070, establishing a hunting season specifically for terminally ill youth under eighteen years of age by authorizing the Mississippi Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks to establish a special permit for children with a life threatening illness.
  • In 2013, legislation was enacted in Maine which will allow for the issuance of special hunting privileges to persons with a terminal illness who are under 21 years of age. 

Language 

The following states have passed terminally ill youth hunting opportunity legislation using the language below:

  • Maine Title 12, chapter 408, § 10105, subsection 16: “In addition to the permits issued by the commissioner pursuant to section 11154, subsection 13, in extenuating circumstances the commissioner may issue up to 2 additional permits or licenses for other hunting or fishing adventures to a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing hunting and fishing adventures to children under 21 years of age with life threatening, critical or terminal illnesses.” 
  • Mississippi Title 49, chapter 7, § 49-7-38.1: “The Mississippi Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks shall establish a special hunting permit for youth under the age of eighteen (18) who have a life threatening illness. This permit may be for any number of days in length but only for the class of persons deemed to have a life threatening illness by the commission. This special hunting permit for youth having a life threatening illness may occur anytime during the calendar year and for any game bird or game animal. However, the commission may not allow these permits during any time that conflicts with laws governing the taking of federally protected birds or species any other seasons.” 

Moving Forward

In order for fish and wildlife agency leaders to quickly and efficiently provide terminally ill individuals with these opportunities, continued legislation may be warranted Legislators are encouraged to work with their respective state fish and wildlife agencies to ensure that any such legislation meets the needs of both terminally ill youth and state wildlife managers.

Contact

For more information regarding this issue, please contact:
Zach Widner (971) 303-1043; zach@sportsmenslink.org.

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