This week, sportsmen's interests were advanced on Capitol Hill as Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced plans for a new Secretarial Order to advance sportsmen's priorities at the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation (CSF) 28th Annual Banquet & Auction; and the House Natural Resources Committee advanced sportsmen's legislation.
During CSF's Banquet VIP Reception, Secretary Zinke joined CSF as the keynote speaker, where he announced plans for a Secretarial Order that would address many long-time priorities for sportsmen and women across the country.
"Hunting and fishing is a cornerstone of the American tradition, and hunters and fishers of America are the backbone of land and wildlife conservation," said Secretary Zinke. "The more people we can get outdoors, the better things will be for our public lands. As someone who grew up hunting and fishing on our public lands - packing bologna sandwiches and heading out at 4AM with my dad - I know how important it is to expand access to public lands for future generations. Some of my best memories are hunting elk or reeling in rainbow trout back home in Montana, and I think every American should be able to have that experience."
In addition to discussing upcoming policy priorities with the Secretary and Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus (CSC) Members at the evening's reception, CSF showcased partnerships within the wildlife conservation community, including a MOU signing between CSF and National Wildlife Federation as well as a check presentation from Safari Club International to CSF.
"Secretary Zinke has continuously proven his support for sportsmen and wildlife conservation," said CSF President Jeff Crane. "Through working with partners within the sportsmen's conservation community, Members of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus, and Secretaries Zinke and Perdue, we look forward to advancing hunting and angling policy priorities."
Following the event's reception, Crane welcomed nearly 600 attendees - including CSF partners, supporters, and 60 CSC Members - to the dinner, and introduced CSC leadership: Co-Chairs Senators Jim Risch (ID) and Joe Manchin (WV) and Congressmen Jeff Duncan (SC) and Gene Green (TX) as well as Vice-Chair Senator Deb Fischer (NE) and Congressmen Austin Scott (GA) and Marc Veasey (TX).
Prior to the Banquet, the House Natural Resources Committee held a hearing and markup on the Sportsmen's Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act (H.R. 3668), which was recently introduced by CSC Co-Chair Congressman Jeff Duncan (SC), and cosponsored by CSC Co-Chair Congressman Gene Green (TX), CSC Vice-Chairs Congressman Austin Scott (GA), and CSC Member Congressman Rob Wittman (VA).
CSF President Jeff Crane provided written testimony at the hearing in support of some of the key provisions. In addition, 25 other leading wildlife conservation organizations signed on in support of the SHARE Act, urging advancement of the bill to the House floor.
Title Sponsors of the 28th Annual Banquet & Auction included: Cabela's Outdoor Fund; National Shooting Sports Foundation; Safari Club International; and Vista Outdoor Inc. Host Sponsors included: BP America, Inc.; Ford Motor Company; Hornady Manufacturing Co.; and Outdoor Sportsman Group. Co-Host Sponsors included: Anheuser-Busch Companies, LLC; Bass Pro Shops; ITC Holdings Corporation; Plano Synergy Holdings; Richard Childress Racing; Sazerac; Shimano American Corporation; Winchester Ammunition; and Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America.
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- Improve hunter and target shooter involvement in regulatory and legislative processes. (11.07%)
- 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). (12.92%)
- Offer shooting sports and hunter education as school activities and recreation programs. (62.73%)
- Link existing programming into family-oriented organizations (such as churches and home-school groups) where participants will have the social support to continue. (13.28%)