On November 29, Arizona Legislators for Wildlife held their annual Cast & Blast at the Ben Avery Shooting Center in Phoenix, Arizona. The event was hosted by the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD), Arizona Sportsmen for Wildlife Conservation (AZSFWC), and the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF).
A member of the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses (NASC), Arizona Legislators for Wildlife is a bicameral, bipartisan group of legislators who work to protect and advance access to hunting, angling, recreational shooting, and trapping for Arizona’s sportsmen and women.
Representatives from a wide array of sportsmen’s organizations celebrated Arizona’s rich outdoor traditions with members of Arizona Legislators for Wildlife. In addition to free fly fishing lessons offered by volunteers from Trout Unlimited, AZGFD staff provided the opportunity to participate in a round sporting clays.
“Arizona Legislators for Wildlife is key to helping members of the legislature understand the important role Arizona’s sportsmen and women play in conservation,” said Ty Gray, AZGFD Director. “Events like this one are a great opportunity for the Department and the (sportsmen’s) community to highlight just how much we value our outdoor heritage.”
The previous day (November 28), many of the same sportsmen’s organizations and representatives from AZGFD attended AZSWFC’s final monthly Board meeting of the year. Staff from AZGFD provided the group with updates to a variety of Department programs, including a preliminary update on the USFWS Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan that was released the following day. Following the Department’s report, the Board went on to consider several grant requests for conservation projects. Founded in 2006, AZSFWC advocates for sportsmen’s issues at both the state and federal level, and has long supported Arizona Legislators for Wildlife events.
“Most sportsmen would rather be left alone to enjoy their passion, be it hunting, angling, enhancing habitat, shooting or any number of other outdoor related activities. They do not want to be advocating for legislation, going to public hearings, reading Forest plans or hearing how their access and ability to recreate is being diminished by environmental groups, land restrictions, rules and laws.” Said Jim Unmacht, AZSFWC Executive Director. “That is where Arizona Sportsmen for Wildlife Conservation comes in.”
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?