Contact John Culclasure, Central Appalachian States Manager
On May 22, the North Carolina Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus hosted a luncheon during the Legislative Sportsmen’s Day at the North Carolina General Assembly.
More than 350 people, including more than 60 legislators and their staff, commissioners and staff from the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (WRC), and representatives from sportsmen’s groups and the outdoor industry, gathered on Halifax Mall to celebrate North Carolina’s rich outdoor heritage.
The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) organized the luncheon. In conjunction with Legislative Sportsmen’s Day, which the WRC was instrumental in planning, the luncheon facilitated interaction among policymakers and provided the opportunity for the sportsmen’s conservation community to discuss policy priorities and issues impacting sportsmen and women in the Old North State.
The day began with a press conference led by Caucus Co-Chair Representative Larry Yarborough. With support from the sportsmen’s community, Rep. Yarborough talked about the history of the bicameral, bipartisan Caucus and its connection to the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses as well highlighting many of its accomplishments, including expanding Sunday hunting in past years, and affirming the constitutional Right to Hunt, Fish and Harvest Wildlife in 2018. Rep. Yarborough also talked about the importance of sportsmen and women to North Carolina’s economy and their contributions generated through the American System of Conservation Funding.
On the Halifax Mall, the WRC and more than 20 national and in-state sportsmen’s groups set up displays and exhibits to educate legislators about their missions and conservation programs. During the luncheon, Caucus Co-Chairs Senator John Alexander, Representative Michael Wray and Rep. Yarborough spoke about their commitment to protecting North Carolina’s sporting traditions, and WRC Executive Director Gordon Myers talked about the importance of hunters and anglers to the WRC carrying out its mission to conserve and sustain the state’s fish and wildlife resources.
Caucus Member Representative Jay Adams, along with CSF’s Central Appalachian States Manager John Culclasure, presented Sen. Alexander and Rep. Yarborough with North Carolina Caucus Sportsman-Legislator Awards for their service and leadership on sportsmen’s issues. Additionally, Rep. Wray was recognized for his dedication and longstanding service as Caucus Co-Chair by being awarded with the North Carolina Caucus Outdoor Heritage Award.
“I was honored to receive the NASC Sportsman-Legislator award and am excited to continue to grow the Caucus as we work to improve policies for North Carolina’s sportsmen and women. The strong turnout at the Sportsmen’s Caucus Luncheon and the Legislative Sportsmen’s Day speaks volumes about the importance of hunting, fishing, and target shooting to our state’s culture and economy,” said Rep. Yarborough.
Host Sponsors included: Coastal Conservation Association of North Carolina, Delta Waterfowl, Ducks Unlimited, North Carolina Wildlife Federation, National Rifle Association, National Shooting Sports Foundation, the WRC, and Safari Club International. Co-Host Sponsors included: American Kennel Club, American Woodcock Society, B.A.S.S. Conservation, and Ruffed Grouse Society.
In addition to CSF, other groups participating in the day included Audubon, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Carolina All Out, Fish and Wildlife Conservation Council, National Wild Turkey Federation, North Carolina Houndsmen Association, North Carolina Wildlife Habitat Foundation, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Sunday Hunting for All, Three Rivers Land Trust, Triangle Fly Fishers and USDA-Wildlife Services.
Representative Larry Yarborough speaking at a press conference for the Legislative Sportsmen’s Day.
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?