On February 13, members of the Iowa Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus hosted a sportsmen’s breakfast in the Capitol.
Representatives from the Iowa hunting and angling community, representatives from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, allied industry members, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) Central Midwestern States Coordinator Joel Hodgdon, and Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus Member Governor Kim Reynolds were all in attendance. During the breakfast, the caucus welcomed two new Co-Chairs, Senator Jim Carlin and Senator Rita Hart.
“I’m honored to help lead our caucus,” said Senator Hart. “I plan on working alongside my fellow caucus members to make Iowa an even better state for sportsmen and women.”
“As a lifelong sportsman, protecting and advancing our hunting and angling heritage is a top priority for me,” Representative Terry Baxter remarked. “I look forward to working with my fellow co-chairs Representative Ourth, Senator Carlin, and Senator Hart on these issues.”
One major topic of discussion was the current effort to fund Iowa’s natural resources and outdoor recreation trust fund, a source of dedicated conservation funding. Iowans voted overwhelmingly to create the trust in 2010. Recent efforts led by the Iowa Water and Land Legacy, a coalition of conservation groups, are underway to direct revenue to the fund.
“Funding the Trust is critical to Iowa’s future – our children, grandchildren – our future hunters and anglers. It’s time for our legislators and Governor to finalize the will of Iowans expressed back in 2010, and solidified during this past November poll which indicated higher and more favorable support than ever before,” said Tammi Kircher, Ducks Unlimited State Chair. “There is no downside, it’s good for our soil health, water quality, fish and wildlife, outdoor recreation, and also very important, our economy.”
The fund would be used for improving water and soil quality, enhancing wildlife habitat, and conserving the natural resources that benefit all Iowans. Iowa hunters and anglers spend more than $780 million annually on their outdoor pursuits, supporting close to 12,000 jobs in the state.
“”Iowa citizens overwhelming supported creating the Iowa Water & Land Legacy Amendment in 2010. Unfortunately, it has been without a funding mechanism for the past seven years,” said Don Pfeiffer, President of the Iowa State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation. “Citizen support for funding the Trust is higher now than ever. We ask that our elected representatives act decisively to fund the Trust, thereby improving our environment, our recreational opportunities, and our very way of life in Iowa.”
Sponsors of the event included Ducks Unlimited and the National Wild Turkey Federation.
Caucus Co-chair Sen. Rita Hart, member Rep. Wes Breckenridge, Co-chair Rep.Terry Baxter, and CSF’s Joel Hodgdon.
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?