Contact: Aoibheann Cline, Western States Coordinator
During a recent committee hearing on legislation to establish a new outdoor recreation office, California Outdoor Sporting Caucus leaders championed AB 1111 in an effort to increase the likelihood of having hunters and anglers represented on the Advisory Council for California’s proposed Office of Outdoor Recreation.
AB 1111 would establish the Office of Outdoor Recreation (Office) in the Office of the Governor to support California’s outdoor recreation economy and to work towards equitable access to the outdoors. The bill would require the Office to establish an advisory committee to provide advice, expertise, support, and service to the Office.
However, upon review of the proposed advisory council, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) found a critical component of California’s outdoor recreation community was not represented – hunters and anglers.
California’s 1.82 million hunters and anglers spend $3.5 billion dollars annually on their outdoor pursuits and support more than 56,000 jobs in the Golden State. Hunters and anglers contributed $125.35 million dollars to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife in 2018 for the purpose of conserving California’s wildlife habitat and populations, yet lacked representation on the outdoor recreation advisory council in the bill as introduced.
On July 2, CSF submitted a “Support if Amended” letter to the Senate Governmental Oversight Committee, on behalf of conservation partners including Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, California Houndsmen for Conservation, California Rifle and Pistol Association, California Trout, California Waterfowl Association, Grassland Water District, National Wild Turkey Federation, and Nor Cal Guides and Sportsmen’s Association, seeking representation for hunters and anglers through the inclusion of a representative from the Fish and Game Commission on the advisory council.
The California Fish and Game Commission is an independent body appointed by the governor that regulates hunting and fishing and to serve as a liaison between the public and California Department of Fish and Wildlife to establish seasons, limits, regulations, and harvesting of fish and game species.
On July 9, AB 1111 author Assemblymember Laura Friedman accepted the amendment in the Senate Governmental Oversight Committee at the recommendation of the Committee Chair and Caucus Co-Chair Senator Bill Dodd, with support of committee members including Caucus Co-Chair Senator Brian Jones.
AB 1111 must still pass the Senate Appropriations Committee and a vote on the Senate floor, but the odds of California’s hunters and anglers securing representation on the advisory council moving forward are greatly improved thanks to the efforts of CSF, conservation partners and the California Outdoor Sporting Caucus.
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?