On January 24, the Delaware Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus hosted its first meeting of the 2017 legislative session at the State Capitol in Dover. The bipartisan, bicameral Caucus is chaired by Senators Bruce Ennis and Brian Pettyjohn, and Representatives Jeff Spiegelman and William Carson. In addition to the Caucus chairs, several other legislators joined the meeting to discuss legislative priorities for the upcoming year including liability insurance for processors wishing to participate in game meat donation programs, airgun/airbow regulations, and legalization of suppressors.
Caucus members were also joined by David Saveikis, Director of the Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife, and other members of the Delaware sportsmen’s community who provided valuable input and insight to the discussion. Director Saveikis also provided an update on the new and successful Sunday hunting opportunities, which were advanced by the Caucus in 2016.
“The inaugural five deer hunting Sundays in Delaware were a great success, with hunters registering 1,170 harvested deer statewide from private and public lands. This harvest is a significant portion of the anticipated over 14,000 deer to be harvested during this year’s hunting season. The five Sundays provided additional hunting opportunities for thousands of Delaware and out-of-state hunters, and did not result in any known conflicts with other outdoor recreation activities.”
During the meeting, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) staff presented the Caucus with the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses (NASC) Northeast Regional Heritage Award for their dedication to advancing pro-sportsmen legislation in the 2016 legislative session and their well-organized and transparent process of seeking input from the sportsmen’s community. Since its inception in October 2015, the Delaware Caucus members have provided a voice for the 177,000 sportsmen and women in the First State.
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?