Why it Matters: Throughout regular sessions, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) worked hand-in-hand with the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses network, members of the Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus, state fish and wildlife agencies, and in-state and national partner organizations to promote and advance policies that celebrate our nation’s time-honored sporting traditions. Coordinated efforts between CSF and the Caucuses, in conjunction with the support of the Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus members, results in tangible benefits for sportsmen and women.
Following a busier than typical legislative sessions in the Northeast, there were a handful of changes, along with continued opportunities that saw oppositional efforts defeated, for sportsmen and women to be excited about in the upcoming hunting seasons.
As a result, several states in the region will see the implementation of new and exciting opportunities, all of which provide a special recognition to our nation’s sporting heritages. In Maryland, Caucus-driven legislation, which garnered the support of GSC member Governor Larry Hogan, has ensured that the right to hunt and fish will remain unabridged in perpetuity. New York saw the implementation of a pilot program for counties to “opt-in” to a lowered hunting age of 12 (rather than the existing age of 14) for big game with a firearm – the culmination of over a decade of synchronicity by the Caucus, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF), and in-state and national partners through the New York Sportsmen’s Advisory Council. Turning to the 2022-2023 hunting season, hunters in Maine will be able to utilize their suppressors while pursuing game without the need to go through the additional state-level permitting requirement – an effort driven by Caucus Co-Chair Senator Trey Stewart.
Sportsmen and women will also see the continued enjoyment of several sporting traditions. In Maine, CSF and the Caucus helped defeat legislation of a proposed ban on the use of bait and dogs for coyote hunting, as well as banning the hunting of coyotes at night. The Pine Tree State also saw legislation that would have inhibited the use of dogs for all forms of hunting. CSF fought to kill this bill and is continuing to oppose similar policy efforts in Vermont. In New Hampshire, CSF worked tirelessly to protect the interests of shooting preserves and dog training operations by opposing legislation that would have amended the current use taxation law to exclude “farm land or forest land used to harbor non-native, non-domesticated animal species” from the definition of “open space land,” meaning some of your favorite hunting and training grounds will remain accessible.
These are just a few of the numerous victories for sportsmen and women that have been catalogued throughout the region this year. CSF looks forward to the new opportunities gained for sportsmen and women, and takes pride in the continued protection and enjoyment of our hunting, fishing, recreational shooting, and trapping heritages.
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?