The B.C. government is encouraging those who have never hunted to pick up a rifle and head into the bush due to easier access to licences.
"The new licence options will promote hunting uptake among B.C. residents and provide another opportunity for families to get out and enjoy B.C.'s backcountry," states a provincial news release.
The province's Wildlife Act has been amended to make hunting licences more affordable for families of teenagers and easier for first-time hunters.
An expanded youth hunting licence and a new initiation hunting licence will be effective for the 2013-14 hunting season.
The youth licence was previously limited to those ages 10 to 13. It now applies to ages 14 to 17 as well.
"This change will make it easier for youth ages 14 to 17 to give hunting a try and to have more mentorship opportunities," states the release.
It costs a regular B.C. rate $35 to purchase a hunting permit whereas it costs $7 for youth so it becomes a more affordable activity for families with teenagers.
"Hunting will always be an integral part of the social fabric of British Columbia and these changes will help introduce a new generation of outdoor enthusiasts to this tradition," said Steve Thomson, minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.
The new initiation permit is a mentoring licence that allows an adult who has never previously held a permit in B.C. to try hunting for one year for $19, which includes a $4 habitat conservation trust foundation surcharge.
"These changes will provide increased opportunities for youth to try hunting for the first time and will give experienced hunters a chance to foster responsible hunting and appreciation for wildlife and conservation in British Columbia," said Bill Bosch, president of the B.C. Wildlife Federation.
Hunting, trapping, angling and wildlife viewing are collectively worth about $1.3 billion to the province's economy.
© Kamloops Daily News