Last week, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) staff and National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses (NASC) Executive Council members Senator Mike Bell (TN) and Representative Jerry Costello (IL) attended the National Wild Turkey Federation’s (NWTF) 42nd Annual Convention and Sport Show in Nashville, Tennessee. CSF and NWTF have a long-standing partnership and regularly work together on pro-sportsmen’s policy initiatives across the country.
On February 15 – 16, CSF Southeastern States Director Bee Frederick and CSF Central Appalachian States Coordinator John Culclasure attended the Conservation Conference component of the Convention where representatives from the United States Forest Service (USFS), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), state fish and wildlife agencies, forest industry, NWTF volunteers, and hunting conservation organizations discussed important conservation and hunting heritage issues including: hunter recruitment, retention, and reactivation; hunter access improvement programs; and collaborative partnership initiatives to restore native forests and improve wildlife habitat on private, state, and federal lands. CSF co-sponsored the Conservation Conference.
During the Government Affairs and Advocacy breakout session of the Conservation Conference, NWTF Director of Government Affairs Joel Pedersen, also with Frederick, presented on federal and state policy priorities for the sportsmen’s community. Pedersen’s presentation covered federal initiatives and legislation including, among others, Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (H.R. 2647), Modernizing the Pittman-Robertson Fund for Tomorrow’s Needs Act of 2017 (H.R. 2591/S. 1613), and fire-borrowing and federal forest management reforms. Frederick spoke about state-level conservation funding mechanisms and legislation to increase access and opportunity for sportsmen and women including mentored hunting programs, right to hunt and fish state constitutional amendments, and Sunday hunting. Additionally, Frederick discussed the Memorandum of Understanding between CSF and NWTF and how that partnership can support the states’ sportsmen’s interests.
Frederick said, “NWTF is one of our most important NGO partners, and we are thankful for the opportunity to participate in the Conservation Conference and attend the Convention. Many thanks to the NWTF staff for hosting us in Nashville, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with NWTF to work together to effectively advance shared goals.”
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?