Contact: Kent Keene, Assistant Manager, Lower Midwestern States and Agriculture Policy
Why It Matters: While the fair chase ethic remains an important part of what it means to be a sportsman or sportswoman, opportunities to utilize modern developments to open the door for new hunters are always exciting. Recently, advancements in shotshell technologies have done just that for turkey hunters, creating opportunities for youth, small-framed, or otherwise recoil sensitive hunters to use shotgun gauges that have historically been considered too small for turkey hunting. With the passage of SF 2334 in Iowa, hunters in the Hawkeye State will now be able to take advantage of these opportunities. CSF was thrilled to be able to support this effort by submitting a letter to the Iowa Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus.
On Thursday, March 10, the Iowa House of Representatives substituted Senate File 2334 (SF 2334) in place of its companion, House File 2370 (HF 2370), and passed the measure unanimously. As reported previously, these bills would permit hunters to utilize shotguns chambered in 28 gauge or .410-bore during the Hawkeye State’s turkey season. SF 2334 was previously passed by the Senate with unanimous consent, meaning that the bill now awaits approval by Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus Member Governor Kim Reynolds before it becomes law.
After sharing a letter of support for this effort with members of the Iowa Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus earlier in the legislative session, CSF and partners were happy to see this legislation pass with such strong support. Thanks to advancements in shotshell technologies, many modern turkey loads offer ethical levels of effectiveness in gauges that were historically considered much too small for turkey hunting. Due to the lower recoil generated by these gauges, their use represents an attractive option for youth and smaller-framed hunters who may not find the recoil generated by other shotgun gauges pleasurable when hunting. Recognizing this, the legalization of 28 gauge and .410-bore shotguns during turkey seasons represents an important opportunity for the recruitment of new hunters.
Similarly, the ability to use lighter recoiling firearms represents an opportunity to reactivate hunters who may otherwise be recoil sensitive or simply did not enjoy using more traditional turkey gauges (often 20 or 12 gauges). In fact, many members of CSF’s staff currently enjoy the opportunity to use small gauge shotguns as allowed in their home states thanks to their lighter recoil impulses and the lightweight, and thereby more maneuverable, shotgun options that are available in these smaller gauges.
While technological advancements must always be evaluated to maintain the fair chase ethic that we, as sportsmen and women, pride ourselves in protecting, CSF continues to support opportunities to ensure that anybody who has an interest in our time-honored outdoor traditions has the ability to do so.
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?