On Saturday, February 21, nine members of the Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus (GSC) gathered for a reception in Washington, DC, hosted by the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF). Coinciding with the National Governors Association meeting in DC, this reception provided an opportunity for governors to spend an evening discussing relevant sportsmen’s issues and successes within their states.
This year’s reception theme was: The American System of Conservation Funding (ASCF). This ‘user pays-public benefits’ program directs excise taxes on firearms and ammunition, fishing equipment and motorboat fuel, and archery equipment, as well as revenues from hunting and fishing licenses to a fund used specifically for the advancement America’s hunting and angling heritage, and for conservation purposes.
CSF Western States Director Andy Treharne welcomed nine governors, and nearly 60 other attendees, including state legislators, gubernational staff, congressional staff, and federal agency staff, and other CSF partners. GSC Co-Chair Governor Terry Branstad (IA) received this year’s GSC Heritage Award. “I am so proud to be part of this Caucus, and to see the vast support we have for hunting and fishing,” said Gov. Branstad. “I have a lifetime hunting and fishing license in Iowa, so I’m looking forward to supporting our heritage for many more years.”
“It’s an honor to be Co-Chair of the Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus. The Caucus is a great organization that practices successful wildlife management programs around the country,” said GSC Co-Chair Governor Earl Ray Tomblin (WV). “[The GSC] really helps encourage people to get out and hunt. In West Virginia, hunting is a family tradition, and it’s surprising to see how many young women are now involved with hunting.”
GSC Vice-Chair Gov. Phil Bryant (MS) discussed the successful hunting and angling season his state had this year. “We do so much hunting and fishing in Mississippi that we thought it ought to be a Constitutional right, and it was overwhelming supported by the people of Mississippi,” said Gov. Bryant. “I want to thank [the GSC and its supporters] for what you do. Hunting and angling is part of the American way of life and it always will be.”
The bipartisan GSC consists of 27 members, and is committed to protecting and advancing hunting, angling, recreational shooting, and trapping in the halls of state government.
The GSC Washington Reception Title Sponsors were: CropLife America, National Rifle Association, and Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America. Host Sponsors included: American Kennel Club, Ducks Unlimited, JC Larkin Company, LLC, and MOB Advocacy. Other GSC supporters include: Altria Corporate Services, Auto Alliance, Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s Outdoor Fund, Dallas Safari Club, ExxonMobil Corporation, National Shooting Sports Foundation, Remington, Reynolds American, Richard Childress Racing, Safari Club International, Shell Oil Company, Shimano American Corporation, Vista Outdoor Inc., and Winchester Ammunition.
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?