July 11, 2022

2022 Session Report from the Old Line State

Contact: Joe Mullin, Manager, Northeastern States

Why it Matters: For decades, CSF has engaged on legislative efforts that encourage and expand the abilities of hunters, anglers, recreational shooters, and trappers to enjoy their pursuits afield. This year’s legislative sessions in Maryland brought numerous opportunities for CSF to work with the Maryland Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus and in-state and national sportsmen’s organizations towards the enactment of pro-sportsmen’s policies and defeat or softening of anti-sportsmen’s efforts. From helping to create a pilot program for the purpose of collecting needed recreational fishing information and improve compliance with certain registration requirements, to furthering Sunday hunting expansions, CSF has fought ardently for the Maryland’s sportsmen and women.

Throughout Maryland’s 2022 regular sessions, CSF dedicated itself towards the advancement and protection of the state’s outdoor sporting heritages. Some examples of the great work that CSF was able to accomplish alongside the Maryland Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus and in-state and national partners are highlighted below:

House Bill 601 (H. 601) – This legislation creates both a pilot program for determining the number of anglers pursuing specific fisheries through the Consolidated Chesapeake Bay and Coastal Boat Fishing License, as well as forms a task force to discover methods of increasing the accuracy and precision of recreational catch data. H. 601 will address a crucial issue that several states experience with collecting data on recreational fishing. The federal Marine Recreational Information Program that is relied upon for collecting harvest data in the recreational sector is a broad spatial and temporal survey across multiple species that is useful for showing trends over time. However, the survey is often not effective at identifying the wide array of efforts for in-season management. Earlier this year, CSF submitted a letter of support for H. 601.

House Bill 51, House Bill 143House Bill 170House Bill 485House Bill 514House Bill 556, House Bill 592 – As was previously reported, Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus Member Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland signed seven Sunday hunting bills into law in mid-May. CSF submitted written testimony to numerous committees in support of additional Sunday hunting authorizations for the state – something that is permitted in only select counties.

Fiscal Year 2023 Supplemental Budget – Earlier this year, CSF highlighted in a separate article the efforts taken by the Maryland Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus leadership and Hunters of Maryland towards securing additional funds for the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). An apportionment of $250,000 was directed from Maryland’s General Fund to the DNR’s Wildlife and Heritage Service (WHS) “to provide funds to supplement hunting license sales revenue.” This General Fund apportionment will be matched by $750,000 in federal dollars for a total of $1,000,000 for the WHS.

To learn more about these bills and other, we encourage you to check out Maryland’s Media Room on CSF’s website.

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?

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