November 12, 2019

Alaska: Alaska Legislative Outdoor Heritage Caucus Convenes at the Sportsmen’s Rendezvous

Contact: Aoibheann Cline, Western States Coordinator

On November 2, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation attended the 2019 Sportsmen’s Rendezvous in Anchorage, Alaska, hosted by the Outdoor Heritage Foundation of Alaska (OHFA).

The Sportsmen’s Rendezvous brought together Alaska Outdoor Heritage Caucus (Caucus) members, state and federal agencies, and non-government organization (NGO) partners from across Alaska.

OHFA is dedicated to promoting conservation education and responsible management of Alaska’s natural resources. OHFA leads the Caucus Advisory Council and provides CSF with instrumental, collaborative guidance on in-state hunting, fishing, recreational shooting, and trapping issues.

“I’m grateful for everyone who made this year’s event another success. I have worked over the years with CSF’s leadership on such issues as ballot initiative defeats, special projects, and the state’s right to manage their wildlife resources,” said Jennifer Yuhas, OHFA President.

CSF provided Caucus members and partner organizations with Caucus updates and direction for the upcoming session. Caucus members in attendance included Representatives Andy Josephson, Colleen Sullivan-Leonard, Cathy Tilton, DeLena Johnson, Jennifer Johnston, Laddie Shaw, and Sara Vance. Josh Revak was confirmed later that day by Senators Shelley Hughes and David Wilson, and Kis Gialopsos for Senator Cathy Giessel.

Agency input included the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) which provided updates and future goals for Alaska though remarks by Commissioner Doug Vincent-Lang, Deputy Commissioner Ben Mulligan, Special Assistant Rick Green, Sportfish Director Dave Rutz, and Wildlife Director Eddie Grasser.  Department of Interior Policy Advisor for Alaska, Sara Taylor, spoke to the intricacies of the Alaska Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) and department efforts to coordinate among state and federal agencies. 

Topics of discussion included the importance of trapping to Alaska’s conservation history and future, the threat of Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae (Movi) in Alaska Wildlife and the predicted effects of this respiratory disease on wild populations; access issues including air, terrestrial, and water pathways; statewide fishing issues; and the importance of Recruitment, Retention, and Reactivation (R3) efforts in Alaska.

Partner organizations in attendance at the Sportsmen’s Rendezvous included the Alaska Invasive Species Partnership, Alaska Outdoor Council, Alaska Professional Hunters Association, Alaska Trappers Association, Alaska Wild Sheep Foundation, Kenai River Sportfish Association, Resident Hunters of Alaska, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Safari Club International (SCI), and Supreme Court access advocate, John Sturgeon. Each of these groups represent unique missions, and all were unified to focus on the future of conservation in Alaska.

CSF, OHFA and Alaska Legislators convene at Sportsmen’s Rendezvous in Anchorage, Alaska.

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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