By Brett Stayton, Mid-Atlantic State Coordinator
With the recent conclusion of the 2018 legislative session, the Delaware Sportsmen’s Caucus (Caucus) continued to be an integral part of sportsmen’s policy in the state. Founded in 2015, the bipartisan and bicameral Caucus is one of the newest members of the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses (NASC) and has racked up an impressive number of victories for their sportsmen and women constituents in short order.
Under the guidance of Caucus Co-Chairs, Representatives Jeff Spiegelman and William Carson, Senators Bryan Pettyjohn and Bruce Ennis, the Caucus holds monthly meetings while in session to discuss policy priorities related to promoting and advancing hunting, fishing, recreational shooting, and trapping opportunities in The First State. During these meetings the Caucus is able to educate members on the pros and cons of various pieces of legislation to ensure that members have the most accurate and up-to-date information on sportsmen’s policy issues.
In 2016, the Caucus successfully advanced legislation that lifted the prohibition of Sunday hunting for deer in the state. The bill also opened up five specific Sundays for hunting on private lands as well as select areas of public land regulated by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. In recognition of their hard work and dedication, the Caucus was presented the NASC Heritage Award for the Northeast Region at the 2016 NASC Annual Summit.
This year, the Caucus continued their successful track record with the passage of several key bills for Delaware’s sportsmen and women. Notably, the passage of SB 198 provides further Sunday hunting opportunities throughout the state’s deer season, and HB 156 expands the range of hand gun calibers and pistol caliber rifles authorized for use during the states shotgun deer hunting season.
In addition, the Caucus scored several other legislative victories during the 2018 session, including:
SB 198 and SB 220 were signed into law by Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus Member Governor John Carney on July 11th. The deadline for the Governor to take action on bills HB 329 and HB 438 is September 30.
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?