Contact: Kent Keene, Senior Coordinator, Lower Midwestern States and Agriculture Policy
Why It Matters: Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, participation in traditional outdoor activities, like hunting and angling, were steadily declining. However, one of the impacts of the pandemic was a resurgence in interest for activities such as hunting and angling that provided an opportunity for individuals to recreate safely. As the effects of the pandemic begin to subside and American life returns to a sense of normalcy, efforts to maintain the rediscovered interest in our outdoor heritage will be a goal of legislators, state fish and wildlife agencies, and members of the sporting-conservation community.
As we approach the 2022 legislative sessions across the country, legislators, state fish and wildlife agency officials, and members of the sporting-conservation community are searching for ways to maintain the recently rediscovered interest in outdoor activities like hunting and fishing. This positive trend has largely been attributed to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the success of campaigns such as the #ResponsibleRecreation initiative which highlights the benefits of these activities during the most challenging portions of the pandemic.
In Kansas, Representative Ken Corbet, a Co-Chair of the Kansas Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, is among those to take the first shot at maintaining this participation. On November 12, Representative Corbet pre-filed House Bill 2456, which seeks to create an affordable lifetime combination hunting/fishing license that can be purchased for children until they reach five years of age. The intent of this license is to provide parents and other adults with an opportunity to invest in the future of their children’s outdoor pursuits.
While data on participation rates for the 2021 hunting and fishing seasons continue to be calculated, legislators, state agencies, and members of the sporting-conservation community are closely watching and hoping that this interest will continue. In addition to strengthening the ranks of hunters and anglers and providing additional voices to speak out against those who seek to undermine our time-honored traditions, this increase in participation supports state conservation efforts around the country thanks to the associated increase in contributions to the American System of Conservation Funding.
As Kansas House Bill 2456 and other bills are introduced throughout the 2022 legislative sessions, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation looks forward to working with legislators, state agency officials, and our partners to support efforts to increase and maintain interest in our outdoor traditions. Stay tuned to The Sportsmen’s Voice for updates throughout the session.
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?