On January 26, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) hosted the ‘Changing of the Guard’ reception and dinner in Washington, DC, to introduce Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) leadership for the 114th Congress and honor the outgoing leadership of the 113th Congress.
CSF President Jeff Crane welcomed CSF’s partners and CSC Members to the dinner. “We are very fortunate to have leaders in the House and Senate, on both sides of the aisle, who come together for hunting, fishing, conservation, and the great outdoors.”
Crane thanked the outgoing CSC leadership for their contributions, and then announced the incoming leadership of the CSC, which includes: Co-Chairs Senators Jim Risch (R-ID) and Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Congressmen Rob Wittman (R-VA) and Tim Walz (D-MN), and Vice-Chairs: Senators Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), and Congressmen Jeff Duncan (R-SC) and Gene Green (D-TX). Outgoing CSC Co-Chairs include: Senators Kay Hagan (D-NC) and John Thune (R-SD), and Congressmen Bob Latta (R-OH) and Bennie Thompson (D-MS).
Sen. Heitkamp began the discussion on a legislative sportsmen’s package for this Congress. “How we focus this next [sportsmen’s] bill is going to be critical to whether the next generation has the opportunity to experience outdoor traditions,” said Sen. Heitkamp. “We are going to get it done, because an organization like this can actually come together, and in a bipartisan way, work to achieve a result in the United States Congress.”
Sen. Risch noted the importance of hunting and angling for future generations. “We all have a passion for fishing and hunting and all things outdoors,” said. Sen. Risch. “More and more Americans are moving away from the outdoor tradition, and there aren’t as many of us as there should be. This is especially true with the younger generations, and I urge people to bring youth hunting and fishing.”
“As Co-Chair of the CSC and as a sportsman myself, it is my top priority to make sure that people across this nation will continue to enjoy hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting, and have the ability to appreciate all that the outdoors has to offer. The voices of our sportsmen and women are uniquely important in this country, and I will do everything I possibly can to make those voices heard in the 114th Congress,” said Sen. Manchin.
House CSC leaders were then introduced. “Not only do we need to get the sportsmen’s package passed, we need to get as many Members of Congress involved as possible, because their districts have an interest in this nation’s fish and wildlife resources,” said Rep. Wittman.
Rep. Walz thanked CSF President Jeff Crane for his work with the CSC. “There are few people on the Hill who find the sweet spot between legislation and priorities and the politics of making it possible, and Jeff and CSF are spectacular at it. I am honored to work with CSF,” said Rep. Walz.
CSC Member Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) also spoke on the bill. “This is what brings us together. This is the one thing that is still bipartisan, the love of passing these traditions on from generation to generation,” said Sen. Heinrich. “We need to make this sportsmen’s package happen. We need to do it in this Congress. We need to show people across the country that Washington can do the right thing [for sportsmen].”
Former CSC Co-Chairs Rep. Latta and Rep. Thompson briefly spoke on the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act, which passed in the House last February, and remained confident that this Congress would pass a similar bill in the House again.
The ‘Changing of the Guard’ reception and dinner Title Sponsor was Amgen. Host Sponsors included: American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, American Sportfishing Association, ATK, Bass Pro Shops, Boone and Crockett Club, Cabela’s Outdoor Fund, Crossroads Strategies, LLC, Honeywell International, Inc., JC Larkin Company, LLC, Lockheed Martin Corporation, National Rifle Association, National Shooting Sports Foundation, Natural Resource Results, Oracle, Remington, Richard Childress Racing, Safari Club International, Shimano American Corporation, and Syngenta.
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?