By Brent Miller, Senior Director, Northeastern States
On May 16, the New York Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus hosted its Annual Sportsman-Legislator Breakfast, which was attended by more than 30 Caucus members as well as state and national conservation organizations, key members of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), and allied-industry partners to celebrate the Empire State’s outdoor sporting heritage.
The morning featured remarks from Caucus Co-Chairs Senator Joseph Griffo, and Assembly Members Aileen Gunther and Clifford Crouch, who spoke about the importance of hunting and angling to the Empire State, and several policy initiatives that will help strengthen New York’s sporting heritage in the years ahead.
"Many New Yorkers enjoy hunting and fishing. As a Caucus, our mission is to ensure that today’s sportsmen and women are able to share these activities with their families, children and future generations, and that we work to address and remedy any issues that these individuals may have while they pursue their passions,” said Sen. Griffo.
Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) Senior Director, Northeastern States Brent Miller presented information on New York’s strong conservation legacy, which includes notable conservationists such as President Theodore Roosevelt and George Bird Grinnell. Miller also discussed the role of New York hunters in shaping the sustainable use paradigm that is critical to the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, and how New York sportsmen and women continue to be the primary funders of state level conservation projects through the American System of Conservation Funding (ASCF). Through the ASCF, the DEC received nearly $60 million in critical conservation funds from New York hunters and anglers in 2017 and has received nearly $2 billion since the inception of ASCF.
The Chairman of the New York Sportsmen’s Advisory Council Rick McDermott discussed some of the critical issues facing New York legislators this session, including: protecting the American System of Conservation Funding; establishing a universal hunting age of 12; expanding crossbow allowances; and newly introduced legislation that would shut down firearm and archery programs in schools throughout the state.
Sponsors included the National Wild Turkey Federation and Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever.
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- Improve hunter and target shooter involvement in regulatory and legislative processes. (11.67%)
- 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). (11.67%)
- Offer shooting sports and hunter education as school activities and recreation programs. (65.00%)
- Link existing programming into family-oriented organizations (such as churches and home-school groups) where participants will have the social support to continue. (11.67%)