Contact: Mark Lance, Southeastern States Coordinator
Why It Matters: In 2016, it was reported that more than 20 million Americans spent an estimated $16.9 billion on equipment and travel to participate in target shooting. The purchase of firearms and ammunition is critical to the “user pays – public benefit” structure of the American System of Conservation Funding (ASCF).
Organized recreational shooting activities provide excellent opportunities for firearm safety and education to novice recreationists and youth. Shooting sports is invaluable to supporting recruitment, retention, and reactivation efforts as they provide opportunities for folks to get hands on experience with firearms in controlled settings under the supervision of experienced mentors.
In addition to 4H programs, many states have recreational shooting appreciation programs in schools. These school-based programs offer students opportunities to participate in shooting activities. The Scholastic Clay Target Program is the largest clay target program for youth in the United States and offers recreational shooting opportunities for tens of thousands of kids across the country.
Engaging the next generation in shooting sports is incredibly important to the future of conservation funding in the U.S. The vast majority of firearms sales revenue is assigned to non-hunting purposes, so encouraging the next generation to participate in recreational shooting will help to ensure that state fish and wildlife management agencies are adequately funded.
The Louisiana Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus recognizes the importance that the next generation has on conservation funding. In 2021 alone, Louisiana sportsmen and women generated over $43.21 million through the ASCF while engaged in their pursuits.
The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation will continue to work closely with the Louisiana Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus to protect and advance conservation funding and outdoor recreation in the “Sportsman’s Paradise.”
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?