As CA hunting licenses decline, lawmaker proposes free hunting days

Posted at 7:05 PM, Feb 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-21 22:05:29-05

The number of hunting licenses have decreased across the county as well as in California.

According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, in 1979 there were more than 530,000 licenses issued.

In 2019 that number went down to just over 240,000.

In an effort to keep the sport alive, one California lawmaker has introduced a bill that would require the Department of Fish and Wildlife to offer two free hunting days a year for non-licensed hunters.

"Any law that is focused on improving participation in hunting sports I am for. However, I think the real reason people go to the field to hunt or don't go to the field to hunt is game populations," said Robert Huguenard, owner of Coastal Professional Services in Nipomo.

Huguenard said while he has no trouble with the proposed bill that aims to get non-hunters in the field, he said he would like to see legislation that truly improves the quality of hunting within the state.

"I think it is time to revisit some of those predation regulations," said Huguenard.

Under the proposed law, a non-licensed hunter would be required to be accompanied by an experienced licensed hunter as well as take an educational course before pulling the trigger.

While some say that laws aim to promote the dying sport within the state, some say it is not dying... it is just not taking place in California.

"There are a lot of hunters in California. They hunt all over the world. They hunt in other states. There are a lot of hunters in California- they may not all hunt in California," said Alfred Luis, owner of Central Coast Outfitters.

Currently an adult resident hunting license will run you about $50 with a non-resident hunting license costing close to $175.

If the bill is passed it would go into effect July 1, 2023.