Sportsmen’s Caucus Leaders Honored at Annual NASC Sportsman-Legislator Summit

From November 12-15, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) hosted the 16th Annual National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses (NASC) Sportsman-Legislator Summit in Greensboro, GA. At the awards banquet on the final evening of the Summit, members of CSF’s States Program Team recognized caucus members from each region who made significant contributions to hunting and fishing policy in their states this year through the presentation of the NASC Heritage Awards. The NASC Heritage Award is presented annually to one individual or group in each of CSF’s four regions who significantly furthers sportsmen’s interests in their state.

Senator Mark Allen, a Co-Chair of the Oklahoma Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, was honored with the Midwest region’s NASC Heritage award. Sen. Allen joined the Oklahoma Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus in 2016. Since assuming his role as a Co-Chair, he has been instrumental in increasing participation and engagement among Caucus members in Oklahoma. At this year’s Summit he was also elected as an alternate member of the NASC Executive Council, in which he will serve a one-year term and will be eligible for re-election in 2020. In addition to his role within the Sportsmen’s Caucus, Sen. Allen is an upland hunter, sporting clays competitor, and a member of the Board of Directors Pajaro Gun Club in Fort Smith, Arkansas. In October, Sen. Allen led Team Oklahoma to victory in the inaugural Arkansas-Oklahoma Joint Caucus Sporting Clays Challenge at the Pajaro Gun Club. Sen. Allen was also instrumental in having the event serve as a fundraiser not only for the Oklahoma Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, but the Arkansas Caucus as well.

The northeast region’s NASC Heritage Award was bestowed upon Representative David Wilson, a Co-Chair of the Connecticut Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, for his efforts on behalf of Connecticut’s sportsmen and women during the 2019 legislative session. During the 2019 session, Representative Wilson organized and facilitated numerous Caucus meetings and exemplified a zealous devotion towards the success of the Caucus and the advancement of the interests of Connecticut’s sportsmen and women. Representative Wilson spearheaded efforts to organize and execute a Caucus game meat tasting reception, which highlighted the important role that hunters play as food providers – both for their families, and for the community through game meat donation programs. Regarded as the largest attended event in the history of the Legislative Office Building in Hartford, CT, the event served as an opportunity for those who are unfamiliar with the taste of wild game to experience many different recipes, while also learning about the historic role that sportsmen and women have held as the primary source of state-level conservation funding through the American System of Conservation Funding.

Tennessee Senator Mike Bell, who has been a member of the Tennessee Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus since 2010, also received NASC Heritage Award for the southeast region, for continuing to ensure that sound legislation is effectively implemented in favor of Tennessee sportsmen and women. Following his election to Co-Chair the Tennessee Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus in 2012, Sen. Bell spearheaded the growth and effectiveness of the Caucus. The Caucus hosts multiple events each year, and under Sen. Bell’s leadership, the Caucus successfully led the charge on legislation protecting conservation funding for the state fish and wildlife agency, repealing an antiquated knife ban, prohibiting the removal of tracking collars from dogs, and constitutionally protecting the right to hunt and fish, among others. Sen. Bell is an avid outdoorsman and was also elected to his second term on the NASC Executive Council at the 2019 NASC Summit.

Representative Casey Snider, a member of the Utah Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus from the Western region, was also recognized with the NASC Heritage Award. Representative Snider is responsible for re-energizing the Utah Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, which is now a champion for sportsmen’s policy in Utah. The Caucus holds monthly meetings and hosts caucus events, aimed at providing an opportunity for current and prospective caucus members to get outside and enjoy Utah’s natural resources. Over the summer, the Sportsmen’s Caucus hosted a few legislator fieldtrips, one of which was a fishing trip, where numerous legislators and their family members fished for Tiger and Bonneville Cutthroat Trout in the high country of Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. Along with Caucus Co-Chair Senator Allen Christensen, they helped guide the passage of Utah H 265 which created the Willard Spur Waterfowl Management Area and designated management responsibility to the Division of Wildlife Resources. Included in those designated management responsibilities are requirements to provide hunting, fishing, trapping and wildlife viewing access and opportunities to the public.  

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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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