On Friday, May 8, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) joined 80 other organizations in submitting a letter to the leadership of the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies, requesting additional funding for Wildlife Services to make up for funding shortfalls from state and county cooperators resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wildlife Services is a program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and has a mission of providing Federal leadership and expertise to resolve wildlife conflicts to allow people and wildlife to coexist. The program provides assistance in resolving an array of wildlife damage issues that negatively impact a wide variety of resources (including other wildlife populations) and helps to reduce threats to human health and safety. Earlier this year, CSF joined 219 other organizations in expressing strong support for the Wildlife Services and offering to work alongside the leadership of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees to strengthen the program’s resources and to ensure a continued federal partnership in the responsible management of our nation’s wildlife.
APHIS Wildlife Services is funded through annual Congressional appropriations, as well as matching dollars from cooperators who are primarily state, county, and municipal entities. As stated in the letter, “State, counties and municipalities are reeling from the loss of tax revenue at all levels coupled with the need to divert already limited resources to emergency response and aid for their residents. Livestock, aquaculture and crop producers are feeling the pinch of a market crash from upended supply chains, the closure of food service and disrupted international trade.”
As a result, the Wildlife Services program requires additional federal funds if they are to continue delivering the level of service that has been necessary in recent years. CSF strongly supports the USDA Wildlife Services program, and the necessary appropriations to help bridge the gap of the temporary loss of cooperator funding for this vital program.
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?