Contact: Kent Keene, Lower Midwestern States Coordinator
On March 3, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation’s (CSF) Lower Midwestern States Coordinator, Kent Keene, attended the 2020 Legislative Conference and Legislator Wild Game Lunch hosted by the Nebraska Sportsmen’s Foundation (NSF). The purpose of the lunch was to discuss policy priorities that sportsmen are facing during the 2020 legislative session in Nebraska and encourage conversation among members of the sportsmen’s community and legislators in the Nebraska Legislative Sportsmen’s Forum.
Prior to lunch, NSF members, sportsmen and conservation partners, and representatives from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission (NGPC), met to discuss sportsmen-related legislative priorities for the 2020 legislative session. NSF’s Executive Director Scott Smathers led the discussion, providing context and updates on relevant bills. NGPC Deputy Director Tim McCoy also provided background information on bills that would affect NGPC.
Thus far in 2020, CSF provided testimony in opposition of two bills in Nebraska that would threaten the NGPC’s ability to manage Nebraska’s wildlife resources and provide opportunities for public access to those resources. Legislative Bill 863 (LB 863) would restrict NGPC’s ability to acquire additional lands for public access without selling an equal amount of currently owned lands while LB 1173 would require NGPC to develop transferrable landowner tags to combat depredation issues, a concept that would hinder NGPC’s wildlife management authority while undermining the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation.
Following the policy discussion, members of the Nebraska legislature and their staff joined attendees for a wild game lunch prepared by NGPC staff. The lunch included various preparation methods for popular game species that can be found in Nebraska. During the lunch, members of the sportsmen’s community were able to mingle with legislators and discuss bills still moving through the Nebraska Legislature. In total, the offices of 21 Senators were represented at the lunch.
“Attending the 2020 Legislative Conference and Legislator Wild Game Lunch was a truly great experience in Lincoln,” said Keene. “I want to thank Scott Smathers and the Nebraska Sportsmen’s Foundation, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, members of the sportsmen’s community, and the members of the Nebraska Legislative Sportsmen’s Forum for their willingness to have these important conversations and their commitment to our hunting, fishing, and outdoor heritage.”
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?