On Saturday, February 22, members of the Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus (GSC) gathered for a reception in Washington, D.C. hosted by the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF). Nine governors were in attendance, joined by members of the sportsmen’s conservation community, gubernatorial staff, congressional staff, federal agency staff and partners of CSF for an evening of camaraderie and discussion on important issues facing the sportsmen’s community.
The bipartisan GSC, consisting of 27 governors, is committed to protecting and advancing hunting, angling, and recreational shooting and trapping in the halls of state government. This year’s event included an array of governors representing their states, including GSC Co-Chairs Gov. Mike Beebe (AR) and Gov. Terry Branstad (IA), Vice-Chair Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (WV), and GSC members: Gov. Phil Bryant (MS), Gov. Steve Bullock (MT), Gov. John Hickenlooper (CO), Gov. Pat McCrory (NC) and Gov. Rick Snyder (MI). Gov. Jan Brewer (AZ) and Dan Ashe, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, were also in attendance.
CSF President Jeff Crane introduced members of the GSC throughout the evening and thanked them for their commitment and efforts in advancing legislation that further protects and advances our sportsmen’s traditions in their states. “I would like to thank the bipartisan membership of the GSC for their leadership, not only inside their respective states but for joining us as a collective voice for America’s 40 million hunters and anglers. These governors stand up and support hunting, angling, and recreational shooting, all with conservation at the roots,” Crane stated.
Many of the governors in attendance addressed hunting, angling and other conservation issues in their state and some shared recent successes and experiences afield and on the water.
“Arkansas is the beneficiary of so much outdoor activity: hunting, angling, and other opportunities to enjoy nature. It is a major component of what Arkansas is all about,” stated GSC Co-Chair Gov. Mike Beebe. “The Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus is an illustration of the ability to get the message out that we are not just good for the environment, and not just stewards of our assets, but we are also an economic engine that creates jobs and opportunities which furthers conservation efforts.”
GSC Co-Chair Gov. Terry Branstad discussed the importance of the family traditions of sportsmen and women, and addressed the crowd on the work of the GSC. “Thank you all for supporting this very important cause. I’m very proud to be a Co-Chair of the GSC and to be able to work with fellow governors to further protect the sportsmen’s traditions my son and I enjoy so much,” Gov. Branstad stated.
The GSC reception was made possible thanks to our sponsors: Altria, ATK, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s Outdoor Fund, CropLife America, Dallas Safari Club, ExxonMobil, JC Larkin Company, LLC, MOB Advocacy, National Rifle Association, National Shooting Sports Foundation, Outdoor Channel, Outtech, Inc., Remington, Reynolds American, Inc., Richard Childress Racing, Safari Club International, Shell Oil Company, Shimano American Corporation, Sports South, LLC, Winchester and Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America.
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?