On January 25, the Idaho Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, a bipartisan group of sportsmen-legislators working to safeguard Idaho’s hunting, angling, trapping, and recreational shooting traditions, hosted its annual kick-off breakfast in Boise to celebrate the state’s outdoor pastimes and discuss sportsmen’s priorities for the 2017 session.
The Idaho Sportsmen’s Caucus welcomed two new Co-Chairs, Representative Mat Erpelding and Representative Steve Miller, who join returning Caucus Co-Chairs Senator Michelle Stennett and Senator Lee Heider. Representative Erpelding, remarking on his new role, noted, “It is a pleasure to serve as a Co-Chair of the Idaho Sportsmen’s Caucus. Given the immense contributions that our sportsmen, sportswomen, guides, and outfitters make to both conservation and our state’s economy, it is critical that we, as sportsmen-legislators, work to ensure that nothing is done to erode our ability to continue to enjoy our outdoor traditions.”
Representative Miller stated “I am excited to become a Co-Chair for the Idaho Sportsmen’s Caucus. Our state has a long and proud hunting, angling, and trapping heritage, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to safeguard our sporting pastimes.”
Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) Northwest States Manager Zach Widner discussed the form and function of the Idaho Sportsmen’s Caucus, noting that the Caucus was created in 2004 as a venue for focused discussion on Idaho’s sportsmen’s issues. Attendees also received a brief address from Idaho Sportsmen’s Alliance (ISA) President Larry Fry, who discussed some of ISA’s policy priorities for the session.
Caucus members were joined by representatives from a number of state and national sportsmen’s organizations, including CSF, Idaho Sportsmen’s Alliance, the Idaho Wildlife Federation, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, National Wild Turkey Federation, and Trout Unlimited. Both the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) and the Idaho Fish and Game Commission were in attendance as well, with Idaho Fish and Game Director Virgil Moore giving a brief address to the attendees.
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?