By: Ellary TuckerWilliams, Inter-Mountain Western States Coordinator
On January 23, the Idaho Sportsman’s Alliance (ISA), Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) and Idaho Sportsmen’s Caucus hosted a very successful Kick-Off Breakfast in the State Capitol Building.
“I’d like to thank everyone for attending the Sportsmen’s Caucus Kick-Off Breakfast. The fact that all of us are in the same room and discussing key issues only makes our sportsmen’s community in Idaho better,” Representative Sally Toone, Caucus Co-Chair.
With over 30 legislators in attendance, staff from the Governor’s office, Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG), the Fish and Game Commission (Commission), and numerous representatives of the hunting, fishing and trapping community on hand. Attendees had the opportunity to discuss the upcoming legislative session and identify important issues to Idaho’s sportsmen and women.
“The Kick-Off breakfast was a huge success, as it provided an opportunity for ISA to build relationships with the state legislators and members of the Commission by voicing the collective concerns of Idaho’s sporting community. As the Advisory Council to the Sportsmen’s Caucus, ISA’s ultimate goal is to advance conservation throughout the state by working collaboratively with the Sportsmen’s Caucus, the Commission, and IDFG, which is why events like the Kick-Off Breakfast are so invaluable,” said Rob Thornberry, ISA President.
Idaho’s shared sporting heritage is treasured by its citizens, and holds true in the dedication of the Idaho Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus to sportsmen’s issues. Idaho’s 520,492 anglers and 295,281 hunters contributed $60.59 million in 2019 to conservation throughout the state. Such funding is made possible through the American System of Conservation Funding, a “user-pays, public-benefits” model, wherein sportsmen and women provide the vast majority of the funding for state fish and wildlife agencies. Idaho’s sportsmen and women dollars have contributed to numerous programs such as the establishment of 343 fishing and boating access sites totaling over 470,000 acres of open water, over 370,000 acres in 32 Wildlife Management Areas, and the stocking of 20,000,000 native fish annually.
“Idaho’s sportsmen and women are the top funders for conservation and wildlife management in the state. As such, IDFG takes their concerns very seriously and appreciates any opportunity to discuss how to improve management and personal enjoyment of Idaho’s natural resources,” said Ed Schriever, Director of Idaho Department of Fish and Game. “IDFG looks forward to a continued collaborative partnership with the Sportsmen’s Caucus and truly appreciates the ability of Caucus events to bring the Governor’s Office, legislators, IDFG and the diverse sporting community together under one roof to focus on the betterment of our shared sporting heritage and natural resource management.”
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?