On Tuesday, June 13, the bipartisan Pennsylvania Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus hosted their Annual Cigar Reception at Sawyer’s in Harrisburg, PA. The evening’s event brought together over 50 members of the Caucus, key staff from both the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and the Pennsylvania Game Commission, as well as staff from Governor Wolf’s office, who is the Vice-Chair of the bipartisan Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus. Additionally, more than 50 members of in-state and national conservation partners and supportive companies joined the Caucus members to celebrate Pennsylvania’s sporting heritage and discuss key policy issues now under consideration in the Pennsylvania General Assembly.
Chief among the policy issues that were focused on during the event were Senate Bills 30 and 192. These bills would provide the Pennsylvania Game Commission and Fish and Boat Commission the authority to establish license and permit fees.
The ability to price hunting and fishing licenses at an appropriate amount and to properly adjust for changing economic conditions is critical to the conservation of fish and wildlife resources and their habitats. In recent years, political roadblocks have, unfortunately, hindered the ability of hunting and fishing license fees to keep pace with inflation – hunting licenses fees have remained the same price since 1999, and fishing licenses since 2005. Beyond ensuring that license fees keep pace with changing economic conditions, providing the state agencies the regulatory authority to adjust fees will allow them to more nimbly implement hunter and angler recruitment to ensure that tomorrow’s funders of these agencies – sportsmen and women, through the American System of Conservation Funding – are brought into the field and onto the water. Both bills have passed the Senate, and will be heard in the House Game and Fisheries Committee on Tuesday, June 20.
CSF wishes to thank the following sponsors and supporters that made the evening’s event possible: Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation, Chief Oil and Gas LLC, Keystone Elk Country Alliance, Kline Associates Ltd., Marcellus Shale Coalition, National Rifle Association, PA Flyers, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, Pennsylvania Game Commission, Pennsylvania Hunters Sharing the Harvest, Range Resources, Safari Club International, Seneca Resources, Southwestern Energy, and UGI Energy Services.
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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%)