Contact: Bee Frederick, Southeastern States Director
During this past legislative session in Louisiana, two important house concurrent resolutions impacting sportsmen and women were introduced with one ultimately passing both legislative bodies.
Both introduced by Louisiana Sportsmen’s Caucus member Representative Stuart Bishop, House Concurrent Resolution (HCR) 65 urges and requests the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to work with the Louisiana Department of Education and the Louisiana School Boards Association to provide hunter education as a voluntary physical education elective in public high schools; and House Concurrent Resolution 95 would have created the: Cervid (Deer)/Chronic Wasting Disease Task Force in the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. HCR 65 was approved by both the House and the Senate, while HCR 95 was approved in House but was never put on the agenda in the Senate.
Specifically, HCR 65 notes the importance of hunter education programs in teaching technical and responsible hunting skills, hunting ethics, basic wildlife management principles, survival skills and, importantly, responsible use of firearms. Allowing students to fulfill firearm and hunter education obligations through elective physical education classes will help the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to “reach out to the next generation of Louisiana sportsmen and women through programs coordinated throughout the state’s schools.” HCR 65 complements hunter recruitment, retention, and reactivation efforts in the state and across the nation, a long-standing priority for the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation.
HCR 95 would have created a Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Task Force within the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. Despite the detection of CWD in Louisiana’s neighboring states, there has not been any known CWD cases within Louisiana. Similar to other states, Louisiana has already adopted a CWD Response Plan as well as taken other measures to further reduce the possibility of spreading the disease by prohibiting importation of cervid carcass or carcass parts. The proposed Task Force would have been made up of various in-state experts and functioned in an advisory manner to “Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, the Department of Agriculture and Forestry, and the legislature as policies for management and prevention of CWD in Louisiana are discussed, recommended, and developed.”
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?