By Soren Nelson, Pacific Southwest States Coordinator
On September 24, the California Fish and Game Commission released its Draft Potential Commission Core Values, which will serve as the foundation for the Commission’s new strategic plan.
The Commission is approaching its 150th anniversary, and is the oldest of its kind in the United States. This will be the first revision to the Commission’s strategic plan in almost 20 years. While the Commission’s mandates have grown significantly over its lifetime, its primary charge remains the same: regulate the management and take of fish and wildlife in California. For that reason, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, working in concert with the California Hunting and Conservation Coalition, submitted comments to Commission staff requesting that any updates to the strategic plan and its foundational documents include an acknowledgement of the vital role that California’s hunting and angling community play in the Commission’s mission.
The comments stated, “We believe these documents should include explicit support of hunting and fishing activities, as these are the traditional uses of wildlife regulated by the Commission. Additionally, these activities provide significant financial support for wildlife conservation, provide an incentive for private landowners to maintain their property as wildlife habitat, and are an important wildlife management tool in many cases.”
California’s sportsmen and women are the single largest funding source for the Department of Fish and Wildlife, and, by extension, the Fish and Game Commission. Last year alone, sportsmen’s dollars contributed over $125 million to the Department through the American System of Conservation Funding.
The Commission will vote on the adoption of the draft core values, mission state, and vision at its October 17 meeting.
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?