Contact: Keely Hopkins, Pacific States Assistant Manager
Why It Matters: Oregon’s hunters, anglers, and trappers have long played a vital role in funding conservation and wildlife management efforts throughout the state. Under the American System of Conservation Funding (ASCF), a unique “user pays-public benefits” structure, Oregon’s sportsmen and women generate tens of millions of dollars each year for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW). These funds are generated through fishing and hunting license sales and through an 11% excise tax paid on sporting-related goods via the Pittman-Robertson and Dingle-Johnson Acts. Ongoing attempts to restrict Oregon’s 940,000 sportsmen and women from their outdoor pursuits also threatens vital funding revenue for Oregon’s conservation, habitat restoration, and wildlife management efforts.
Oregon’s sportsmen and women are currently facing one of the most blatant attacks on outdoor heritage in the form of proposed ballot Initiative Petition 13 (IP13), which if passed, would ban all hunting, fishing, and trapping in the state. Proponents are currently gathering the 112,020 signatures needed to place the petition on the November 2022 ballot, where Oregon voters would then decide the fate of hunting and fishing in the state.
But the Oregon sportsmen’s community isn’t quietly holding its breath and waiting to see if the initiative qualifies. In 2021, organizations from across the state quickly organized to form a coalition in opposition to IP13, which included a steering committee to lead the response. After several meetings, it became apparent to the steering committee that working together as a broad-based coalition could provide a tremendous benefit to not only to fight this initiative, but for any future attacks as well—whether they be at the ballot box or in the form of legislation at the Capitol.
On January 25, hunting, fishing, trapping and conservation organizations all joined together for the first meeting of the Oregon Sportsmen’s Conservation Partnership. Elected to the Board of Directors were Amy Patrick, Oregon Hunters Association; Stan Steele, Oregon Outdoor Council; Keely Hopkins, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation; Leonard Krug, Oregon Anglers Alliance; and Bill Richardson of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. Over 32 organizations are represented on the coalition, including national organizations like National Wild Turkey Federation, Ducks Unlimited, Mule Deer Foundation, and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. Moving forward, the coalition will focus on several key policy areas, legislative efforts, and will collaborate with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
As we continue to see increased attacks on our outdoor heritage, sportsmen and women in states across the West are banding together to form an organized response. In addition to Oregon, efforts to unite as a coalition are underway in Washington state following the Spring Bear Hunt suspension and also in Colorado over the failed attempt to ban mountain lion hunting. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation is proud to be working on the ground with our partner organizations in these states and will continue to protect and advance hunting, fishing, trapping and recreational shooting.
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?