Contact: Joe Mullin, Assistant Manager, Northeastern States
Why it Matters: State fish and wildlife agencies serve as our nation’s primary, and most well-equipped, managers of fish and wildlife and their habitats. Staffed by trained professionals with backgrounds in a wide variety of fields, including biology, law enforcement, lands management, and numerous other disciplines, these agencies carry out on-the-ground conservation efforts, and possess an intimate understanding of their states’ conservation priorities. They interface with constituencies like hunters, anglers, trappers, and recreational shooters to ensure that outdoor recreation opportunities are being maximized for the benefit of the public, which in turn ensures that conservation funding resulting from purchases of licenses and tags, as well as excise taxes paid on hunting and fishing-related expenditures, will continue to flow back to the states through the American System of Conservation Funding. Highlighting the critical role that these agencies play further adds to the value of having strong leadership via the commissioner/director.
On October 29, the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department (VFWD) said its goodbyes to Commissioner Louis Porter, who departed for a career with Washington Electric Cooperative. Since 2014, Porter manned the helm for the VFWD, working alongside the Vermont Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus and Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) on advancing pro-sportsmen’s initiatives, including but not limited to: authorizing online deer checking; providing virtual bowhunter education courses; moving to virtual opportunities for hunter ed and game checking, expanding the use of crossbows, and supporting National Hunting and Fishing Day proclamation requests with Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus member Governor Phil Scott, and Governor Peter Shumlin before him.
“Commissioner Porter’s leadership, and his long-standing partnership with the Vermont Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus provides an example for other states across the northeast to emulate,” said Brent Miller, States Program Administrator for the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation. “Over the years Commissioner Porter and his staff have attended all events hosted by the Caucus and partnered with the Caucus not only on key policy issues, but also on a variety of educational events hosted for elected officials, conservation law enforcement officers, and the sportsmen’s community. Vermont’s sporting traditions, fish and wildlife, and their habitat, have all benefited from his efforts. We look forward to forging a similarly strong, mutually-beneficial, and collaborative relationship with incoming Commissioner Chris Herrick in the months and years ahead.”
CSF would like to congratulate former Commissioner Porter on a successful career with the VFWD and wishes him the best in his new endeavors. Turning to the future, CSF looks forward to working alongside incoming Commissioner Chris Herrick, who will assume the lead position with the Department on November 8.
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?