By: Ellary TuckerWilliams, Inter-Mountain Western States Coordinator
On January 29, 2020, the New Mexico Sportsmen’s Caucus and Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) hosted a very successful and well attended reception at the Inn of the Governor in Santa Fe.
“This year’s Sportsmen’s Caucus Reception was the most well-attended event we have had in the last 5 years. The evening showcased the diversity of our outdoor community, united by the desire to protect and advance sporting traditions and conservation throughout the state. When you get that many passionate sportsmen and women in one room, great things happen,” said Representative Bill Rehm, National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses Executive Council Member.
With more than 20 legislators in attendance along with representatives from the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish and the New Mexico State Game Commission, the sportsmen’s community and numerous partners used the Reception to celebrate the Land of Enchantment’s diverse hunting, fishing and trapping heritage. Attendees also used the event as an opportunity to discuss the upcoming legislative session and identify issues of importance to New Mexico’s sportsmen and women. Reception sponsors included Walmart, Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever Quail Forever, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, New Mexico Cattle Growers Association, New Mexico Council of Outfitters and Guides, PNM Resources, and the Rutherford Group.
New Mexico’s shared sporting heritage is treasured by its citizens, and this perspective is represented by members of the New Mexico Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus. New Mexico’s 244,707 anglers and 106,661 hunters contributed $41.32 million in 2019 to conservation throughout the state. Such funding is made possible through the American System of Conservation Funding, a “user-pays, public-benefits” model, wherein sportsmen and women provide the vast majority of the funding for state fish and wildlife agencies. New Mexico’s sportsmen and women dollars have contributed to numerous programs such as the removal of native desert bighorn sheep and Gila trout from the state endangered species list, resulting in increased recreational opportunities for sportsmen and women, the establishment of 56 Wildlife Management Areas equating to over 165,000 acres of public hunting and fishing opportunity, and the creation of the Habitat Stamp Program, to highlight a few.
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?