Contact: Mark Lance, Southeastern States Coordinator
On February 22, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) submitted a letter to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (Commission) supporting rule proposals that would prohibit the importation and possession of Cervidae (deer family) carcasses or parts from out of state and clarifying the definition of a muzzleloader, while also opposing the proposed rule changes related to Restricted Hunting Areas (RHA).
Prohibition on the Importation and Possession of Cervidae Body Parts
CSF supports the proposal to prohibit the importation and possession of Cervidae carcasses or parts from outside of the state, with the exception of legally harvested deer from a property in Georgia or Alabama that is bisected by the Florida state line and is owned by the same entity in both states. This rule change would strengthen Florida’s efforts to keep Chronic Wasting Disease from being introduced into the state.
Defining a Muzzleloader
CSF supports the proposal to define a muzzleloader as a firearm designed to have projectiles loaded through the muzzle, fired by a wheel lock, flintlock, percussion cap, or centerfire primer, and clarifying that gun powder may be loaded at the breech. Advancements in technology, such as the FireStick, allow for sportsmen and women to utilize safer, more effective methods of muzzleloader shooting, while also staying within the confines of traditional muzzleloading.
Restricted Hunting Areas (RHA)
CSF opposes the proposed RHA rule change that would create a 300-foot buffer zone from a dwelling in which hunting with the use of firearms would not be allowed. CSF supports modifying the rule proposal to implement a direction of fire component that would allow hunting within the RHA, provided hunters do not shoot toward dwellings. This would ensure the safety of residential areas while also avoiding unnecessary limitations on hunting opportunities on publicly owned lands and waters.
The Commission will meet to discuss these topics, among others, including the Western Dry Rocks proposed seasonal closure that CSF previously supported, during their meetings on February 25 and 26.
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?