By Chris Horton, Midwestern States Senior Director
On February 12, the Arkansas Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, in partnership with the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC), hosted their annual Sportsmen’s Caucus Lunch at the Red and Blue Room Event Venue near the capitol.
The lunch began with National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses Executive Council Member Representative Jeff Wardlaw welcoming attendees and calling for nominations of caucus co-chairs, followed by the election of the 2019-2020 Arkansas Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus leadership.
On the House side, Rep. Wardlaw will serve as Chair, Representative Carlton Wing will serve as Vice-Chair, and Representative DeAnn Vaught will serve as Treasurer. On the Senate side, Senator Jonathan Dismang will serve as Chair, Senator Mat Pitsch will serve as Vice-Chair, and Senator Bruce Maloch will serve as Secretary.
Following the leadership elections, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation’s (CSF) Chris Horton provided an overview of federal policy initiatives that the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus and the sportsmen’s community are working on early in the 116th Congress. Horton also highlighted the positive working relationship between the Arkansas Sportsmen’s Caucus, the AGFC and the Governor’s office on behalf of Arkansas’s hunters and anglers.
Sen. Pitsch introduced the new Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus (GSC) Co-Chair, Governor Asa Hutchinson, who spoke about the importance of hunting and fishing to Arkansas’s culture and the state’s economy.
“It’s not just about the hundreds of thousands of hunters and anglers in the state of Arkansas, it’s part of who we as Arkansans are,” Gov. Hutchinson said.
The event presented the perfect opportunity for Gov. Hutchinson, Arkansas Sportsmen’s Caucus leadership, and AGFC Director Pat Fitts to unveil the 2019-2020 Arkansas duck stamp, which was painted by Mike Malar of North Little Rock. The stamp will feature a scene of mallards in the iconic flooded timber of Arkansas.
Left to right: Sen. Jonathan Dismang, AGFC Director Pat Fitts, Gov. Hutchinson and artist Mike Marlar.
Unveiling of the Arkansas duck stamp at the Sportsmen’s Caucus luncheon. Photo Credit: Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
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?