April 1, 2024

Kentucky Senate Bill 3 Defeated by Unified Opposition from the Sportsmen’s Community

Article Contact: Conner Barker,

Why It Matters: Kentucky would have been the first state in the country to place the management of its fish and wildlife agency under its Department of Agriculture and give all Wildlife Commissioner appointments to its Commissioner of Agriculture, which would have been a significant departure from how fish and wildlife resources have been managed since the early 20th Century. National and in-state sporting conservation groups rallied to defeat the legislation which shows the importance of the sportsmen’s community working together to protect our pastimes and also underscores the importance of hunters and anglers to Kentucky’s culture and economy.


  • Senate Bill 3 failed to pass the House of Representatives by March 28 and is dead for all intents and purposes.
  • With the veto period now underway, even if Senate Bill 3 were to pass the House of Representatives when they reconvene in mid-April, the General Assembly would not have time to override an almost certain veto from Governor Beshear.
  • The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) submitted multiple letters of opposition, testified in committee, coordinated an action alert with conservation partners, and coordinated with the Kentucky Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus (Caucus) to oppose Senate Bill 3.

Senate Bill 3 proposed to (1) administratively attach the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR) to the Department of Agriculture and (2) authorize the Commissioner of Agriculture to appoint all members of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Commission. While agriculture and sporting communities share similar interests, agricultural priorities may conflict with professional, science-based fish and wildlife management, and CSF was concerned about the intrusion of agricultural interests into wildlife management.

The North American Model of Wildlife Conservation is widely recognized as one of the most successful models of wildlife conservation in the world, and one of its key components is that wildlife harvest is allocated by law, including regulatory decisions made by the KDFWR Commission. Through the “user pays – public benefits” structure of the American System of Conservation Funding, sportsmen and women largely pay for the management of public trust fish and wildlife resources.

Despite no sporting-conservation organization being consulted on the front end about Senate Bill 3, the community sprang to action to oppose the legislation. Not one sportsmen’s group supported Senate Bill 3. CSF would like to thank our conservation partners and the Caucus, particularly Caucus Chair Senator Robin Webb, for their support opposing this misguided legislation.

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