The 2019 legislative session begins January 8th. But many lawmakers are already letting their priorities known by filing bills ahead of the first day of the session.
One of 744 bills prefiled deals with hunting, a popular past time here in South Carolina.
Right now in South Carolina, completion of a hunter education course is required before you can purchase a hunting license.
The SC Department of Natural Resources explained why this course is essential in keeping hunters safe.
“In hunting you’re using weapons, if not used correctly can hurt people who are there to harvest game.. gun safety is a very important part of the class,” said Greg Lucas with SCDNR.
The hunter education course is currently ONLY required for hunters born after June 30, 1979. But now an upstate lawmaker wants to change that.
Senator Harvey Peeler from Gaffney prefiled a bill that deletes the age restriction and requires completion of the course for all hunters.
So far several hunters say they support the measure.
Mike Johnson is the manager of the Clinton House Plantation and oversees at least 900 hunts on the property per year.
Johnson added, ” Anytime you can keep wildlife safer, anytime you can teach a man, a child, whatever it may be about firearm safety… it’s a win in our industry. If DNR told me to take the course again I’d be more than happy to take the course I personally feel this is my livelihood. So anything that can keep me in a job i’d be happy to entertain.”
The hunter education course is an 8-hour course that is offered for free by the SC Department of Natural Resources.
Outside of gun safety, the course also focuses on how hunters interact with wildlife.
The fees associated with hunting licenses are distributed back into the agency for conservation and land management.