Contact: Keely Hopkins, Assistant Manager, Pacific States
Why It Matters: Oregon’s hunters, anglers, and trappers have long played a vital role in funding conservation and wildlife management efforts throughout the state. Under the American System of Conservation Funding (ASCF), a unique “user pays — public benefits” structure, Oregon’s sportsmen and women generate tens of millions of dollars each year for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW). These funds are generated through fishing and hunting license sales and through an 11% excise tax paid on sporting-related goods via the Pittman-Robertson Act. In addition to IP 13 restricting over 940,000 sportsmen and women from their outdoor pursuits of hunting, fishing, and trapping, the prohibition on these activities would result in a substantial decrease of revenue for Oregon’s critical conservation, habitat restoration, and wildlife management efforts.
“End Animal Cruelty,” an animal rights activist group in Oregon, has proposed an initiative to be placed on the 2022 ballot that would eliminate all hunting, fishing, and trapping in the state of Oregon. Initiative Petition 13 (IP 13) would prohibit the injuring and killing of any mammal, fish, reptile, or amphibian, unless it resulted from an act of self-defense. The initiative would also make it a felony to engage in common animal breeding practices, including for domestic animals.
If passed, IP 13 would immediately impact Oregon’s 940,000 sportsmen and women who participate in the outdoors in support of conservation efforts, food procurement, and tradition. For generations, Oregonians from across the state have relied on Oregon’s rich natural bounty to provide fresh meat and fish for their families. The proposed initiative would also significantly impact the state’s ability to manage and protect its natural resources, wildlife, and public lands.
Without sportsmen-generated revenue through license and tag sales, along with the excise tax revenue generated through Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson for sporting-related purchases, ODFW would have their budget drastically cut by almost one half. ODFW, the primary stewards of protecting and enhancing the states’ wildlife and their habitat, would lose over $50 million dollars annually from hunting and fishing license sales alone.
The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) submitted comments to the Oregon Secretary of State on June 3 challenging the proposed ballot title language for not adequately notifying voters as to the sweeping and profound effects of IP 13 if passed. After a review of these comments and any modification, the Secretary of State will finalize the ballot title language, which clears the hurdle for the “End Animal Cruelty” campaign to begin gathering the 112,020 signatures necessary to place it on the 2022 ballot. CSF will continue working in opposition to IP 13 throughout this process.
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?