The Hunting and Shooting Sports Conservation Council (HSSCC), a federal advisory council of 18 conservation leaders who provide recommendations and advice to the Secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior, met on March 21 to receive agency reports and provide guidance on behalf of the sportsmen’s community.
On the same day, Acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt signed a new Secretarial Order (S.O. 3373) with the purpose of evaluating public access in Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Public Land Disposals and Exchanges. Specifically, the S.O. directs the BLM to amend its Land Use Planning Handbook to ensure that public access for hunting and fishing is considered before BLM lands are exchanged or disposed of.
Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) President Jeff Crane serves as Chairman of the HSSCC, and works closely with the Secretaries on issues related to public access for hunting and recreational shooting. This includes implementation of Secretarial Orders 3347, 3356, 3362, and now 3373, which all benefit public access to Federal lands for outdoor recreation as well as fish and wildlife habitat conservation.
During the meeting, senior representatives from the Agriculture and Interior Departments (USDA and DOI), including Secretary Sonny Perdue and Acting Secretary Bernhardt, joined the HSSCC to discuss moving forward with several specific policy recommendations, including:
The HSSCC was established in May 2018, and since has held three official meetings and numerous discussions to develop substantial recommendations for enhancing public access to federal public lands.
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?