Nevada: Bill to Create Wildlife Education Council Advances

On May 23, Nevada Senate Bill 221 unanimously passed the Nevada Senate. The bill, which was authored by Nevada Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chairs Senators Mo Denis and Scott Hammond, and Co-Chair Assembly Member Justin Watkins, would establish the Nevada Wildlife Public Education Council, which has been a priority for the Caucus.

If established, the Council would develop and carry out a public information program to educate the residents of Nevada on the vital role that hunting and professional wildlife management play in conservation in that state. Funding for the Council would come from the Nevada Department of Wildlife’s (NDOW) Wildlife Heritage Account, which is comprised of funds generated through the auctioning of NDOW’s Heritage tags.

On March 15, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) submitted a letter of support for the bill. In the letter, CSF noted that SB 221 is an important opportunity to articulate the vital role sportsmen and women play in conservation. It stated, “Educating the non-hunting and non-angling public on the numerous benefits that sportsmen and women provide for conservation is one of the best ways to ensure that hunting and angling – and in turn the professional fish and wildlife management work that they fund – will persist into the future. These activities keep public fish and wildlife populations healthy, facilitate habitat management and conservation, generate revenue for public agencies and private businesses, and support jobs.”

The Coalition for Nevada’s Wildlife and the Southern Nevada Coalition for Wildlife, both comprised of in-state sportsmen’s groups and state-base chapters of national sportsmen’s groups, have also voiced their support of the bill.

The Silver State boasts more than 163,000 hunters and anglers who spend $409 million annually, and support 5,326 jobs. Last year alone, these sportsmen contributed over $29 million to conservation in the state through the American System of Conservation Funding.

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A key component of the American System of Conservation Funding, the Pittman- Robertson Act directs excise taxes on firearms, ammo, and archery equipment to wildlife conservation. Since its inception in 1937 the Act has generated more than $12 billion towards conservation. However, there has been a loss of 5 million hunters in the past decade. One proposed solution to help fund conservation is to dedicate lottery proceeds for conservation purposes. Would you support this effort in your state?

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