On September 10, the Michigan Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus (MLSC) hosted a breakfast briefing in Lansing, Michigan, where over 60 members of the MLSC were joined by representatives from the sportsmen’s-conservation community and Department of Natural Resources staff. The third breakfast briefing of the year, these regular gatherings play a vital role in keeping the Caucus informed on issues related to Michigan’s sportsmen and women. The breakfast briefing was sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) and also received support from a National Hunting and Fishing Day Grant.
Caucus Co-Chair Senator David Knezek discussed National Hunting and Fishing Day, which was held on September 26, encouraging his colleagues to promote this day through their various media outlets. Fellow Co-Chair Senator Mike Green followed by notifying attendees that the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) will be hosting a Great Lakes fisheries policy forum on November 20 at Cabela’s in Dundee, Michigan for members of the Michigan and Ohio Sportsmen’s Caucuses.
Sportsmen and other conservationists showed a strong presence at the State Capitol in Lansing throughout the week. Just a day prior to the briefing, Co-Chair Representative Andrea LaFontaine sponsored a Conservation Day at the Capitol with groups including Ducks Unlimited, Michigan United Conservation Clubs, Michigan Snowmobile Association, Michigan B.A.S.S., and others setting-up table displays on the front lawn of the Capitol along a popular entrance route for legislators to promote the conservation work being done by their respective organizations.
Following the Conservation Day, there was a Camo at the Capitol Rally led by the Michigan United Conservation Clubs, which featured several MLSC members speaking on the steps of the Capitol. “What hunting, fishing, and trapping mean to this state is huge. These traditions contribute significantly to the economy, but to me, it’s more than that,” said Co-Chair Representative John Kivela. “Our outdoor heritage creates lifelong bonds and closeness with family.”
Former House Co-Chair of the MLSC, Representative Jon Bumstead, also addressed the orange and camouflage clad crowd saying, “If it wasn’t for the sportsmen and women of this state, we wouldn’t have what we have today. We need to continue to educate the non-hunting and non-fishing public about the benefits of science-based fish and wildlife management.” Rep. Bumstead encouraged those in attendance to contact their legislators and discuss the importance of conservation in Michigan.
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?