What committees or caucuses have you been affiliated with in office that support the sportsmen's community and Fish and wildlife conservation?
I am a proud member of the chairman's council of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus.
What is your top policy priority for the sportsmen and women in your state?
Programs that introduce hunting and fishing to our youth; a vigorous hunter safety program; and, public access to our spectacular state and federal public lands.
What is your most memorable outdoor experience?
With over five decades in the outdoors now, it's hard to pick a single favorite memory. But I treasure a deer hunt outside at Evergreen, Missouri where my son, Payne, who at the time was 15 years old, and I were sitting together in a tree stand. We had a Ruger M77. 243 rifle and from across the pasture we saw a beautiful mature, eight point buck approaching. To get a good shot as the buck ran across the field weaving and changing direction, it became apparent that Payne and I needed to change seats in the tree stand! We did that as quietly as possible (no squeaking water bottles!) And Payne traced the deer’s run and took a beautiful shoulder shot just after sunrise on a cold November day. It will be one of our favorite hunting memories.
What's your favorite fish or game to pursue?
I love duck, deer and turkey hunting. I never turn down the opportunity to upland hunt for dove or quail. And in Arkansas, there's nothing better than a perfect day with the breeze and the right temperature to fish for trophy bass. We're also blessed with terrific tail water streams and when I have a chance I enjoy flyfishing for trout. The record brown trout was caught on the little red river just outside my district.
What hunting, fishing, shooting, trapping or other related organizations are you a member of?
I'm a life member of the NRA and a long-time supporter of Ducks Unlimited. I'm also a member of the Boone and Crockett club and an advisory board member of the Theodore Roosevelt Association.
What do you consider the biggest obstacle to recruiting new particpants to hunting, angling, recreational shooting and trapping?
As our population urbanizes and becomes more obsessed with sitting in front of screens engaged in digital content, we are losing the whole generation’s love of the outdoors and participation in major outdoor recreation opportunities including hunting and fishing. Outdoor recreation is an essential part of growing up and connecting our youth with the beauty of the great outdoors and its abundant bounty. Participating in outdoor recreation also provides a respect for our environment and the land.
Have you received any awards or acknowledgements for your work on behalf of sportsmen and women?
Recently, our outdoor writer in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, Brian Hendricks, prepared a nice article on the work of the House of Representatives on quail restoration and he was kind to thank Congressman Bruce Westerman and I for actively supporting this legislation.
Do you have any other insights or thought you'd like to share about your states rich outdoor heritage?
When Arkansas became a state in 1836, it was known as the Bear State. Arkansas in the colonial period and the 19th century was truly a wild and woolly place with hunters and trappers coming up the Mississippi River and up the Arkansas River for its bounty in furs.
Today, in the Mississippi Flyway, we possess the world's greatest duckhunting as we are the nation's largest grower and exporter of rice. But we enjoy a robust turkey and deer population and you can always find abundant opportunities for hunting, fishing, white water canoeing backpacking, camping in our beautiful Ozark national Forest, Ouachita national Forest and along America's first national River, the Buffalo National River.
Rep. Hill deer hunting with his son, Payne.
Your opinion counts
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?Vote Here
- Increase the number of states with discounted license tailored to specific groups. (3.27%)
- Increase access to public lands. (26.12%)
- Provide more information for new participants. (2.86%)
- Provide hands on opportunities to improve skills and knowledge. (14.49%)
- Engage youth through hunter and conservation programs in schools. (45.71%)
- I feel we have enough sportsmen and women and do not believe R3 programs are necessary. (7.55%)