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.
In a small win for conservationists, the ballot language for the egregious Initiative Petition 13 (IP 13) has been modified to more clearly explain to voters the profound effects of the initiative if it were to pass. On June 3, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) submitted comments to the Oregon Secretary of State challenging the ballot title language as prepared by the Attorney General for failing to notify voters as to the sweeping effects of the initiative. IP 13, proposed by the animal rights activist group “End Animal Cruelty,” would eliminate all hunting, fishing and trapping in the state of Oregon.
In the comments submitted, CSF highlighted the critical role that Oregon’s sportsmen and women play in funding conservation and wildlife management efforts throughout the state and argued the draft ballot language failed to capture one of the most devastating effects of IP 13 if passed: the substantial reduction of funding for the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife’s conservation efforts through the elimination of hunting and fishing license sales. Noting CSF’s comments, the Attorney General revised the ballot language to include a statement on this effect. Oregon voters will now be notified that a vote for IP 13 is a vote against conservation funding.
In addition to this change, the hunting and conservation community also successfully argued for several other modifications to the ballot language. Along with CSF, comments were submitted by the Oregon Hunters Association, Oregon Trappers Association, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and others. As a result, the ballot language will now specifically list that hunting and fishing will be banned, along with noting these activities will be “criminalized,” not just “prohibited.”
With the final ballot language now certified, the “End Animal Cruelty” campaign can begin gathering the 112,020 signatures necessary to place it on the 2022 ballot. CSF will continue working with coalition partners 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?