Why it matters: During the 18th Annual National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses (NASC) Sportsman-Legislator Summit, two Midwestern legislators were elected to serve as members of the NASC Executive Committee. Representative Jeff Wardlaw, now in his third term, and Senator Allen, in his first term as a full member after serving as an alternate since 2019, will join ten other legislators from around the nation to help guide the NASC network. Working with their colleagues and staff from the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, the EC is critical in NASC’s mission to work with state legislators to protect and advance hunting, angling, recreational shooting, and trapping.
From December 8-10, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) hosted the largest gathering of pro-sportsmen legislators, agency staff, and outdoor industry representatives for the 18th Annual National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses (NASC) Sportsman-Legislator Summit in Little Rock, AR. During this multi-day and one-of-a-kind Summit, Representative Jeff Wardlaw of Arkansas and Senator Mark Allen of Oklahoma were both elected to serve as members of the NASC Executive Council (EC). This will be Representative Wardlaw’s third term as a member of the EC and will be Senator Allen’s first term after serving as an alternate member since 2019.
Elected for two-year terms by fellow state legislative sportsmen’s caucus members from across the country who attend the annual Summit, members of the EC help to guide the NASC program. The Council assists with the establishment and promotion of pro-sportsmen ideas, and facilitates the sharing of information between state caucuses, conservation partners, and allied industries. The EC plays a critical role in the protection and advancement of hunting and angling rights and the continuation of our sportsmen’s heritage by helping to guide the activities of NASC, assisting with policy development, setting guidelines for affiliated state caucuses, as well as media outreach intended to highlight the role hunting, angling, recreational shooting, and trapping play in supporting conservation policies that also benefit our nation’s social and economic well-being.
In addition to his reelection to the EC, Representative Wardlaw was presented with a NASC Heritage Award recognizing his recent efforts to further sportsmen’s interests in the state of Arkansas. During the 2021 legislative session, Representative Wardlaw sponsored and successfully passed a bill that, among other things, prevented Arkansas from losing eligibility to receive millions of dollars in Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration (WSFR) funding. This “user pays – public benefits” system of fish and wildlife conservation funding, known as the American System of Conservation Funding, is the most successful model of conservation funding in the world.
Established in 2004 by the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, NASC provides the synergy to protect and advance hunting, angling, recreational shooting, trapping, and professional fish and wildlife management in state capitols. With more than 2,000 legislators from 49 state legislative sportsmen’s caucuses, this unprecedented network of pro-sportsmen legislators provides the nexus and support among the state caucuses which is critical to the successful advancement of pro-sportsmen policies across the nation.
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?