Two bills, one goal
Apprenticeship hunting has been a hot topic over the past couple of months due to the possibility of it being adopted as policy by the state of North Dakota.
But the fact that there are two similar bills, House Bill 1227 and Senate Bill 2165 could mean trouble for both.
"When you get two similar versions that aren't exactly the same and you get personalities involved there's a risk both of them are going to go down," Director of the North Dakota Game and Fish Department Terry Steinwand said.
Rep. Todd Porter, R-Mandan, who chairs the House Natural Resources Committee, which is schedule to hear SB 2165 on Friday at 9 a.m., said there are definite differences between the two bills. Porter is a co-sponsor of HB 1227.
HB 1227 would establish a provisional license that would allow residents over the age of 18 who have not completed hunter's safety to hunt for free during one non-lottery hunting season, which includes upland game and waterfowl.
The bill also includes provisions to provide an online hunter education course for individuals 16 or older and changes the minimum age to participate in the youth deer hunting season from 14 to 12. It passed the house 74-20.
"We kind of encompassed the whole package that we had previously worked on last session," Porter said. "It had three of the recruiting and retention areas that we had worked on last session."
SB 2165 would allow for anyone over the age of 16 to receive a provisional hunting license without taking the hunter's safety course. The individual would have to pay for their license and could enter the deer license lottery. It passed the Senate 47-0 with an emergency clause, which would make it take effect this year.
The primary sponsor of SB 2165, Sen. Aaron Krauter, D-Regent, said it's important one or both of the bills pass and Steinwand agrees.
"The way we're going into this is ... they're conceptually the same and that's the way we're approaching it, 'You guys have to work it out,'" Steinwand said. "We would like to see some sort of apprentice bill out there."
If both bills pass the differences between the two will be hammered out in conference committee, Krauter said.
Krauter summed up his thoughts on the bills with three words.
"Get it done," he said.