By Brent Miller, Senior Director, Northeastern States
On August 5, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) hosted a Northeast regional policy forum concurrent with the Council of State Governments Eastern Regional Conference in Rye Brook, New York. The discussion centered on policies that may help recruit, retain, and reactivate (R3) hunters and recreational shooters in the years ahead.
Legislators from across the Northeast were joined by conservation partners to discuss how hunters and recreational shooters provide the vast majority of conservation funding for state-level wildlife conservation through the “user-pays, public-benefits” American System of Conservation Funding.
Also discussed were the overall decline of participation in these traditions in the Northeast, and how the average age of participants in the region is increasing – highlighting the need for additional policies and programs that encourage additional participation.
CSF’s Senior Director, Northeast States, Brent Miller, and Mid-Atlantic States Coordinator Brett Stayton were joined by representatives from both Ducks Unlimited and the National Wild Turkey Federation in leading the discussion. The conversation centered on: removing restrictions on Sunday hunting, expanding apprentice hunting license offerings, implementing college student hunting and angling licenses, offering hunter education as an afterschool activity for high schoolers, and expanding access to target ranges.
Generous support for this event came from: Ducks Unlimited, National Shooting Sports Foundation, National Wild Turkey Federation, and Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever.
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- Improve hunter and target shooter involvement in regulatory and legislative processes. (13.75%)
- 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). (11.25%)
- Offer shooting sports and hunter education as school activities and recreation programs. (61.25%)
- Link existing programming into family-oriented organizations (such as churches and home-school groups) where participants will have the social support to continue. (13.75%)