Contact: Keely Hopkins, Manager, Pacific States and Firearm Policy
Why It Matters: Oregon’s hunters, anglers, and trappers have long played a vital role in funding conservation and wildlife management efforts throughout the state. Under the American System of Conservation Funding (ASCF), a unique “user pays-public benefits” structure, Oregon’s sportsmen and women generate tens of millions of dollars each year for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW). These funds are generated through fishing and hunting license sales and through an 11% excise tax paid on sporting-related goods via the Pittman-Robertson Act. Ongoing attempts to restrict Oregon’s 940,000 sportsmen and women from their outdoor pursuits of hunting, fishing, and trapping threatens vital funding revenue for Oregon’s conservation, habitat restoration, and wildlife management efforts of all species, not just game.
On May 26, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation submitted comments on Initiative Petition 3, the latest iteration of the ballot initiative designed to end all hunting, fishing, and trapping in Oregon. As you may recall, the “End Animal Cruelty” campaign had previously filed a similar initiative, Initiative Petition 13, for the 2022 ballot, but that effort has since been abandoned and the proposal has been refiled for 2024. On April 20, proponents submitted the required 1,000 sponsorship signatures to the Oregon Secretary of State to formally request a ballot title from the Oregon Attorney General, which was then released by Secretary Fagan on May 12. CSF submitted comments on the draft title, which will then be reviewed by the Attorney General before making any revisions and certifying the final ballot title language. Once certified, proponents can then begin signature gathering to qualify the initiative for the 2024 ballot.
If passed, IP 3 would end all hunting, fishing, and trapping, which would immediately impact Oregon’s 940,000 sportsmen and women who participate in the outdoors in support of conservation efforts, food procurement, and tradition. The proposed initiative would also significantly impact the state’s ability to manage and protect its natural resources, wildlife, and public lands. Without sportsmen-generated revenue through license and tag sales, along with excise the tax revenue generated through Pittman-Robertson for sporting-related purchases, ODFW would have their budget drastically cut by one half. ODFW, the primary stewards of protecting and enhancing our states wildlife and their habitat, would lose over $50 million dollars annually from hunting and fishing license sales alone.
Hunters, anglers, and conservationists have all been working together against IP 13 and now IP 3, with CSF serving on the frontlines as a member of the Steering Committee for the opposition campaign, and on the Board of Directors for the recently formed Oregon Sportsmen’s Conversation Partnership. CSF will continue to keep you updated on the status of IP3 and other attacks on our outdoor sporting heritage.
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?