BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

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          SB 1179 (Hollingsworth)
          As Amended  August 2, 2010
          Majority vote 

           SENATE VOTE  :28-6  
           WATER, PARKS & WILDLIFE     12-0APPROPRIATIONS      17-0        
          |Ayes:|Huffman, Fuller,          |Ayes:|Fuentes, Conway,          |
          |     |Anderson, Arambula, Tom   |     |Bradford,                 |
          |     |Berryhill, Blumenfield,   |     |Huffman, Coto, Davis, De  |
          |     |Caballero, De La Torre,   |     |Leon, Gatto, Hall,        |
          |     |Fletcher, Gatto, Bonnie   |     |Harkey, Miller, Nielsen,  |
          |     |Lowenthal, Salas          |     |Norby, Skinner, Solorio,  |
          |     |                          |     |Torlakson, Torrico        |
          |     |                          |     |                          |
           SUMMARY  :   Authorizes the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) to  
          designate two free hunt days per year.  Specifically,  this bill  :

          1)Authorizes the Director of DFG to designate two free hunting  
            days per year, one during the Fall hunt season and one during  
            the winter season.  Requires DFG to publish the dates of the  
            free hunt days.

          2)Authorizes a California resident to hunt during a free hunt  
            day if accompanied by a licensed hunter who meets certain  
            specified requirements, and requires that the unlicensed  
            hunter stay in close visual and verbal contact with the  
            licensed hunter at all times.  Requires that the licensed  
            supervising hunter be at least 21 years old, licensed to hunt  
            for at least the last three consecutive years, and accompany  
            only one unlicensed hunter in the field at a time.

          3)Provides that an unlicensed hunter may only participate in the  
            free hunting days for one license year, and requires that the  
            unlicensed hunter complete a hunter education course approved  
            by DFG and register with DFG prior to participating in a free  
            hunting day.

          4)Requires that an unlicensed hunter participating in a free  
            hunting day must have in his or her possession a certificate  


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            of completion of a hunter education course, and any required  
            tags, report cards, federal entitlements, and required entry  

          5)Provides that the unlicensed hunter shall be subject to all of  
            the limitations, restrictions, conditions, statutes, rules and  
            regulations applicable to licensed hunters, except the  
            requirement to possess a valid hunting license.

          6)Prohibits an unlicensed hunter participating in a free hunting  
            day from taking any species that requires a draw or lottery to  
            obtain a tag.

          7)Authorizes DFG to adopt additional minimum requirements and  
            restrictions for participating in a free hunting day.

          8)Prohibits this bill from being implemented until DFG's  
            Automated License Data System (ALDS) is fully operational for  
            at least one year.

          9)Makes legislative findings and declarations regarding the  
            contributions of hunters and fishermen and the fact that the  
            state allows for two free fishing days, and states legislative  
            intent to similarly allow for two free hunting days. 

           EXISTING LAW  requires:

          1)Possession of a hunting license to take birds or mammals in  
            California.  Provides for issuance of hunting licenses to  
            residents and nonresidents upon payment of specified fees.

          2)Completion of a hunting education course as a condition of  
            obtaining a hunting license.  Hunter education courses are a  
            minimum of 10 hours and cover firearm safety and handling,  
            sportsmanship and ethics, wildlife management and  
            conservation, archery, black powder, wildlife identification,  
            game care, first aid, and survival.

          3)Possession of a fishing license to take fish.  Authorizes DFG  
            to designate 2 free fishing days per year. 

           FISCAL EFFECT  :

          1)Potential annual costs to DFG of an unknown amount, but likely  


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            around $125,000, to deploy additional enforcement staff on  
            free hunting days, many of who will receive overtime pay        
               (Fish and Game Preservation Fund (FGPF)).

          2)Minor costs to DFG to administer the program and, if it  
            chooses, to adopt additional minimum requirements for Free  
            Hunting Days.

          3)Potential annual loss in revenue to DFG of an unknown but  
            likely minor amount to the extent residents participate in  
            Free Hunting Days instead of purchasing hunting licenses  

           COMMENTS  :   This bill authorizes DFG to designate two free  
          hunting days per year, during which California residents who  
          meet certain conditions would be allowed to hunt for free  
          without obtaining a hunting license.   Unlicensed hunters would  
          be required to be accompanied by a licensed hunter who is at  
          least 21 years of age, would be required to complete a hunting  
          education course approved by DFG and would be required to  
          register with DFG prior to participating in a free hunt day.

          The requirement in this bill for participants to first complete  
          a hunter education course is consistent with prior policies  
          established by the Legislature, which enacted hunting education  
          requirements in order to ensure the health and safety of hunters  
          and to reflect the Legislature's intent that hunters be aware of  
          their responsibilities to others, towards wildlife, and toward  
          the natural environment.  Hunter education courses cover not  
          only safe operation of firearms, but also include education on  
          wildlife management and conservation, sportsmanship and ethics,  
          and other related topics.  The hunter education course  
          requirement also serves as a quasi-age limit for hunters, since  
          very young children are not generally capable of completing the  
          course.  The course includes both an online and an in-person  
          component.  According to DFG's Web site, hunting accidents of  
          all types have declined substantially with the hunter education  
          course requirement.

          Under the terms of this bill, implementation of the free hunt  
          days is required to be delayed until DFG's ALDS system is fully  
          operational.  Currently, DFG has no way of tracking whether  
          someone has previously participated in a free hunt day or  
          whether a proposed supervising hunter has been continually  


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          licensed for the prior three years and meets the eligibility  
          criteria to be a supervisor.  

          Supporters assert that this bill provides parity with fishing  
          since DFG is already authorized to designate two free fishing  
          days per year.  They also contend that by allowing persons who  
          have never hunted before to try it out before purchasing a  
          license, this bill could introduce new hunters to the sport who  
          may then elect to purchase licenses in the future.  The author  
          also cites statistics from the National Shooting Sports  
          Foundation indicating that accidental firearms fatalities are at  
          an all time low, the injury rate of hunting compared to other  
          types of recreation, and the impact of the firearms industry on  
          California's economy.

          Amendments adopted in the Assembly policy committee addressed  
          opposition concerns.

           Analysis Prepared by  :    Diane Colborn / W., P. & W. / (916)  

                                                                FN: 0005993