On March 14, the Iowa Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus hosted a luncheon and panel discussion which included conservation experts from across the state who spoke about the future of hunting and fishing in Iowa. Members of the caucus, representatives from local sportsmen’s groups, and industry partners were in attendance.
The panel, which included representatives from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the National Wild Turkey Federation, Pheasants Forever, and Ducks Unlimited discussed the American System of Conservation Funding; research on hunter and angler recruitment, retention, and reactivation in Iowa; and the effort to support Iowa’s Water and Land Legacy (IWILL).
Caucus Co-Chair Representative Scott Ourth and Co-Chair Representative Terry Baxter began the discussion with a few remarks. “We are all working on IWILL,” said Co-Chair Ourth. “This effort is important to continue to provide what’s necessary to keep our natural resources and ecosystems clean for every living creature.”
Alongside stories of recent hunting or fishing trips at lunch, Iowa’s strong sporting heritage was the conversation topic of the day. The Hawkeye State has almost 600,000 hunters and anglers who spend almost $800 million annually on their pursuits, supporting about 12,000 jobs in the state.
Sponsors for the luncheon included Ducks Unlimited, the Iowa Outdoor Partnership, the National Wild Turkey Federation, and Pheasants Forever.
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?