Contact: Ellary TuckerWilliams, Rocky Mountain States Assistant Manager
Why it Matters: Lack of engagement from the outdoor sporting community will be the contributing factor in the success of anti-hunting interests attempting to limit sportsmen and women’s ability to sustainably harvest wildlife. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation commends all the individual sportsmen and women and hunting conservation organizations that stood steadfast in support of science-based wildlife management and the AZGFD’s 2023-2028 Hunting Guidelines as proposed. Without our collective voice and support, the integrity of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation in Arizona was maintained.
As previously reported, predator management seems to be in the crosshairs for the animal rights and anti-hunting establishment in the western United States. Earlier this year, the Humane Society of the United States, Center for Biological Diversity, and the Mountain Lion Foundation were actively encouraging and coaching their members to submit comments to the Arizona Game and Fish Department calling for the end to several methods of take related to black bear, mountain lion, and bobcat, in addition to more restrictive harvest thresholds in the Proposed Hunt Guidelines for the Fall 2023-Spring 2028 Hunting Seasons.
In response the anti-hunting establishments attempt to hijack the proposed hunt guidelines in a blatant attack on the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation and Arizona’s outdoor sporting heritage, the hunting community decided enough was enough. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation was among the many individual sportsmen and women, and conservation organizations that submitted comments in support of science-based wildlife management and AZGFD as the foremost experts on managing Arizona’s fish and wildlife.
After reviewing the proposed 2023-2028 Hunt Guidelines and all 3,148 submitted public comments, of which 72% were specific to black bear, mountain lion, bobcat, other predators, the Commission voted in favor of the guidelines as proposed by the AZGFD. Despite their best efforts, the anti-hunting establishment was unsuccessful in influencing the hunt guidelines. While this is a significant win for Arizona’s hunters and conservation, the process is not over yet. Before being finalized, the hunt guidelines must proceed through the following steps:
CSF will engage in the upcoming comment period and continue to hold steadfast in its support of state fish and wildlife agencies as the foremost expert in managing wildlife and the highly successful North American Model of Wildlife Conservation which calls for the best available science in the formulation of wildlife policy and regulation. Furthermore, CSF will continue to provide updates as they become available.
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?