During the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation (CSF) Leadership Dinner on February 10, Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus (CSC) leaders from the 116th Congress, former CSC leaders, and sporting industry partners gathered in Washington, D.C. to celebrate the CSC and to foster conservation priorities in the new year for sportsmen and women across the nation.
CSC Co-Chairs for the 116th Congress include Senators Deb Fischer (NE) and Martin Heinrich (NM), along with Congressmen Marc Veasey (TX) and Austin Scott (GA). Vice-Chairs include Senators John Boozman (AR) and Joe Manchin (WV) along with Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI) and Congressman Richard Hudson (NC). These leaders bring bipartisanship and unique perspectives from different regions of the country to govern the CSC.
The CSC leadership is charged with leading the largest bipartisan caucus on Capitol Hill with the mission of protecting and advancing our hunting, fishing, trapping, and recreational shooting traditions. During the dinner, the CSC leadership addressed former CSC leaders and representatives from the sportsmen's community on this year's CSC policy priorities. In attendance were more than 10 members of Congress, 2 foreign ambassadors - Ambassador David Newman, Republic of Botswana; and Ambassador Ammon Mutembwa, The Republic of Zimbabwe; and Director of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Aurelia Skipwith.
"When you look at this year, it's been a pretty contentious year, but we've actually been able to accomplish things that are sportsmen's priorities, and we can all be really proud of that. We are going to get some really good things done together - bipartisan, bicameral, with the North American model approach, and I think there's a lot we can be proud of," said CSC Co-Chair Sen. Heinrich.
"The real strength of this group is the fact that it's bipartisan. We agree and disagree on a lot of other things, but this is something that's not contentious. It's such a great source of energy and activities that serve conservation. Thank you for all you're doing," said CSC Vice-Chair John Boozman.
"I think sometimes we take for granted the rights we have. They're very few countries where people have the right to hunt and fish. If it was not for CSF, there are a lot of people that would not have the right to hunt and fish in this country," said CSC Co-Chair Rep. Scott.
"Conservation is the one thing we can do together. We need to show the people [of this nation] that the great outdoors is a unifying place. We've got to bring people together and stand for conservation," said CSC Vice-Chair Rep. Dingell.
"CSF has provided the link between the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus and the sportsmen's community for 30 years," said CSF President Jeff Crane. "We are grateful for the continued leadership of the CSC Co-Chairs and Vice-Chairs and we look forward to continue to work with the leadership in order to advance many pieces of common-sense, pro-sportsmen's legislation. Conservation remains the common denominator in Washington D.C., and these Members of Congress serve as the driving force behind many recent legislative victories."
Title Sponsors included Bass Pro Shops and Cabela's. Host Sponsors included American Outdoor Brands Corporation; American Sportfishing Association; Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies; Boone and Crockett Club; Dallas Safari Club; Ducks Unlimited; Everest.com; Hornady Manufacturing Co.; Lockheed Martin Corporation; Milne, Wiener & Shofe Global Strategies; National Rifle Association; National Shooting Sports Foundation; Natural Resource Results, LLC; Oracle; Plano Synergy Holdings; Richard Childress Racing; Safari Club International; Shimano North America Holding, Inc.; Southern Company Services; Vista Outdoors; and Wildlife Mississippi.
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- Improve hunter and target shooter involvement in regulatory and legislative processes. (9.92%)
- Enact or expand temporary hunter education deferral programs (apprentice license programs, multiyear options, programs for all first-time hunters regardless of age, and programs promoting hunting of multiple game species). (13.40%)
- Offer shooting sports and hunter education as school activities and recreation programs. (63.27%)
- Link existing programming into family-oriented organizations (such as churches and home-school groups) where participants will have the social support to continue. (13.40%)