Two pieces of legislation sponsored by State Sen. Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet) that give more flexibility to kids interested in hunting were signed into law by Governor Bruce Rauner August 7.
Under House Bill 3674, which took effect upon being signed into law, anyone who has a youth hunting license may use a crossbow during the first half of the regular archery deer season. This idea came from Nick DiFilippo of Mahomet, who wanted to take his daughters deer hunting during archery season, but they aren’t physically big enough to pull the bow. So, DiFilippo spoke to Rose about the issue. Rose then drafted legislation to change the law.
“Two of my three daughters hunt with me during the youth gun season, but I wished they could bow hunt with me also,” DiFilippo said. “Because state law has a minimum of a 40 pound draw weight and neither of them could do that, one of my daughters asked a good question saying, ‘Why can I hunt with a gun but not a crossbow?’ So I talked to Sen. Rose about what we could do.”
“I am a firm believer that the best pieces of legislation come from constituents, and this is a perfect example,” Rose said. “Thanks to Nick and his daughters, we are going to provide more recreational opportunities for kids and their parents to enjoy the outdoors. It is also a situation where we are helping to equalize the field for all of our state’s citizens.”
Rose notes that the state had previously allowed crossbows for the elderly and disabled, but that the 40 pound weight requirement left many kids unable to go out with an adult because they couldn’t pull the weight requirement.
“Ultimately, it’s about trying to get our kids in the outdoors more,” DiFilippo said. “Let’s get our kids involved and off the couch. If we wait too long until our sons and daughters can pull 40 pounds, their interest may go elsewhere. This is also an opportunity for kids to hang out with their parents.”
Also signed into law was House Bill 3234, which takes effect January 1, 2016. It raises the age cap for youth hunting licenses from 16 to 18. Youth hunting licenses allow youths to hunt with a licensed adult 21 years of age or older.
Nick with his three daughters. Pictured from left to right: Kara, Nick, Emma, and Brianna DiFilippo. (You may use this photo, also attached, in your publication).