Recently, the Hunting and Shooting Sports Conservation Council (HSSCC) submitted recommendations to the Departments of Agriculture and Interior related to increasing hunting opportunities and enhancing wildlife management on federal lands.
Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) President and HSSCC Chairman Jeff Crane recently signed a letter to Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and another letter to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue urging action of two priorities for the HSSCC.
Sunday Hunting in North Carolina
The HSSCC encouraged Secretary Perdue to direct the U.S. Forest Service to allow Sunday hunting on National Forest Service (NFS) lands in North Carolina should the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission propose rules to open Sunday hunting on NFS lands. Currently, 40 states do not have any restrictions on Sunday hunting, including adjacent states Georgia and Tennessee. Opening the more than 1.2 million acres of NFS lands in the state to Sunday hunting would significantly increase access and opportunity for sportsmen and women and, importantly, young people. North Carolina hunters generate significant funding for conservation, contributing more than $31.3 million in 2017 alone. Allowing hunting on the additional weekend day on NFS lands would facilitate increased economic output and benefit local economies in addition to supporting hunter recruitment, retention, and reactivation efforts.
Volunteer Hunters for Wildlife Management
The HSSCC also recommended that the Department of the Interior (DOI) adopt a policy to use hunters as volunteers for reduction and management of ungulate populations on DOI managed lands. With appropriate supervision and training, volunteers can safely remove large numbers of ungulates from the landscape. This type of program has proven to be effective in achieving management objectives and fostering collaboration between Interior agencies, state fish and wildlife agencies, and the public. It has also been a valuable source for game meat donations in local communities.
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?