On January 14, sportsmen and women, representatives from conservation organizations, and Department of Natural Resources personnel filled the Georgia State Capitol for the 14th Annual Georgia Sportsmen’s and Coastal Day. The annual event, held at the beginning of the legislative session, provides a venue for elected officials to hear from the hunting and angling community on issues of importance.
Addressing the audience, Speaker of the House David Ralston, Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Mark Williams, and others spoke on the positive impact that Georgia’s natural resources, hunters, and anglers have on the economic and social fabric of the state. Also in attendance were Georgia Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chairs Senator Bill Heath and Representative David Knight. Senator Heath also serves on the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses (NASC) Executive Council and Representative Knight is Chairman of the House Game, Fish, and Parks Committee. Both legislators, in their respective chamber, introduced a resolution officially declaring January 14, 2016 as “Georgia Sportsmen’s and Coastal Day at the Capitol.” The Caucus, a bipartisan, bicameral group of legislators working to protect and advance hunting, angling, recreational shooting and trapping, was first established in 2003 and since then has continued to provide a strong voice for the sportsmen’s community in the state.
Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) Southeastern States Manager Bee Frederick hosted a booth representing NASC, showcasing the form and function of NASC and the Georgia Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, while also promoting the significant economic impact that hunting and angling plays in the state. Georgia is home to over one million hunters and anglers who spent $2.3 billion and generated $2.6 million in state and local taxes in 2011.
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?