Contact: Brent Miller, Senior Director, Northeastern States and States Program Administrator
On February 1, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation’s (CSF) Senior Director, Northeastern States & States Program Administrator, Brent Miller, delivered a presentation to more than 150 hunter-education instructors, staff from the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), and numerous other attendees.
The annual conference, hosted by New York 4-H Shooting Sports, focused on looking towards the future of hunting and sport shooting in New York, and discussed a variety of ideas and programs to build towards a brighter future for our time-honored traditions in the Empire State.
Miller’s presentation, titled “The Interconnectivity of Policy Trends, R3, Advocacy, and Public Relations,” began with a primer on CSF’s role as a supportive entity to sportsmen’s caucuses at the federal, state, and gubernatorial levels – including the bipartisan and bicameral New York Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus. Miller also presented background information on the nearly 5,000 bills CSF’s States Program Team tracked at the state level last year (of which 1,239 were pro-sportsmen, and 894 were anti-sportsmen). Notably, the relative ratio of anti-sportsmen’s bills at the state level has been rapidly increasing in recent years, and it is increasing at a rate that is approximately 8-times higher than the slight increases in pro-sportsmen bills that have been witnessed.
Following the discussion on policy trends, Miller presented some background information on the course of hunting license sales in New York (decreasing) relative to the overall population (increasing) which has resulted in certified paid license holders now accounting for less than 3% of the population of the state. This set the stage for discussing the importance of R3 efforts to ensure that hunting remains a vibrant component of New York’s culture and a critical driver of funding for DEC’s Division of Fish and Wildlife through the American System of Conservation Funding. R3 efforts are also key to ensuring that we identify and train the next generation of sportsmen-advocates to maintain a strong voice in policy discussions. Similarly, maintaining the historically strong support of the non-hunting public is likewise essential to ensuring that strong pro-sportsmen’s policies are enacted. Miller concluded his remarks by suggesting several items that can be incorporated into future hunter-education programming to ensure that both goals are met.
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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%)