Contact: Brent Miller, Senior Director, Northeastern States and States Program Administrator
On Wednesday, January 29, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) Senior Director of Northeastern States attended and emceed the 13th Annual Sportsman-Legislator Breakfast hosted by the bipartisan and bicameral New York Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus in Albany, NY. The event was widely attended by Caucus members, key staff from the Department of Environmental Conservation’s Division of Fish and Wildlife, numerous in-state and national conservation partners, and was regarded by many Caucus members in attendance as the strongest such event in many years.
The event featured remarks from all four of the Caucus Co-Chairs – Senator Joseph Griffo, and Assembly Members Aileen Gunther, Clifford Crouch, and Colin Schmitt – who each expressed strong support for hunting and fishing within their districts and throughout the state. Some of the many topics covered at the event included legislative efforts to expand crossbow allowances, and to lower the universal hunting age to 12 years old (New York is currently the only state in the nation that requires prospective hunters to reach 14 years of age before they can hunt big game with firearms, and this is widely viewed as a barrier to efforts to improve hunter recruitment within the state). As well, the incredible economic activity that hunting and angling provide in the state, particularly in rural areas, was widely recognized, as was the key role that sportsmen and women provide in generating critical funding for the Division of Fish and Wildlife through the “user-pays, public-benefits” American System of Conservation Funding.
Other speakers included Director Tony Wilkinson of the Division of Fish and Wildlife who discussed the agency’s work on behalf of sportsmen and women, as well as their focus on preventing the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease, which has not been detected in the state for many years, though regular testing by the Division is ongoing. Lastly, Mr. Larry Becker, Chairman of the New York Sportsmen’s Advisory Council (NYSAC), discussed Council priorities as well as the support they provide for the Caucus. NYSAC was formed by CSF as a supportive entity in 2012 to assist with event planning and management, as well as policy guidance for the 60-member New York Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus.
CSF would like to thank the sponsors of the event for their ongoing support of the Caucus: New York Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, and Ducks Unlimited, Inc.
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?