December 3, 2012 (Washington, D.C.) – State legislative and other sportsmen’s leaders from across the nation gathered last week at the 9th Annual National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses (NASC) Sportsman-Legislator Summit to discuss an agenda to address sportsmen’s issues in state capitals across the country.
The three-day Summit, held at the Marina Inn at Grande Dunes Resort in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, was hosted by the South Carolina Sportsmen’s Caucus and the Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce. The Summit is the largest gathering of state sportsmen and women legislators in the United States and provides them with a unique forum to exchange ideas on pro-sportsmen legislation, and other related issues.
The theme for this year’s meeting, “The American System of Conservation Funding: Celebrating 75 Years of Success, and Ensuring It’s Future,” honors the 75th Anniversary of the incredibly successful Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration (WSFR) programs, funded through the purchases made by hunters, recreational shooters, anglers, and boaters and trappers – a “user-pays, public-benefits approach.
Panel discussions and presentations this year included: the history of the WSFR programs and ensuring future success, history of trapping in the United States, federal and state policy issues dealing with recreational fishing and current challenges facing recreational shooting.
“The agenda of this year’s meeting provided an opportunity for the bipartisan members to take these policy initiatives back to their colleagues in the various state legislatures in order to continue the future success of NASC,” said Jeff Crane, President of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF).
Additionally, the annual meeting is where elections are held for Executive Council Members. The Executive Council is the advisory body of the NASC and is comprised of legislators from state sportsmen’s caucuses from across the nation. Senator Robin Webb of Kentucky was elected Executive Council President, replacing Representative Mike Pitts of South Carolina, who was term limited after serving as President from 2008 to 2012. Representative Mark Neuman of Alaska was appointed as Vice President and Representative Brandon Phelps of Illinois was reappointed as Secretary. Other members of the 2013 Executive Council are Senator Bill Heath of Georgia, Representative Sal Esquivel of Oregon, Representative Candy Ezzell of New Mexico, Representative Herb Frierson of Mississippi, Representative Marc Gergely of Pennsylvania, Representative Craig Miner of Connecticut and Representative Brian White of South Carolina. Alternates for the 2013 Executive Council are Delegate Wendell Beitzel of Maryland and Representative Tim Moffitt of North Carolina.
Outgoing Executive Council President Representative Mike Pitts touted the success of NASC during his tenure as President of the Executive Council. Representative Pitts stated, “From a political standpoint, serving as the NASC President has been the highlight of my career. Helping the organization grow and watching the staff develop, gives me a tremendous satisfaction and feeling of accomplishment. The greatest aspect has been the tremendous personal relationships that I have built with legislator-outdoorsmen and women, members of the outdoor industry, and most especially, the NASC staff.”
The NASC Sportsman-Legislator Summit was made possible due to the generous support of our sponsors. In particular, CSF would like to thank Safari Club International for being the Title Sponsor of this event. Likewise, CSF would like to thank the South Carolina Sportsmen’s Caucus and the Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce, who served as host sponsors, and ATK, the Cabela’s Outdoor Fund, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Richard Childress Racing and Shimano, who served as Co-Hosts. Other supporters of this year’s event included the American Knife and Tool Institute, the American Silencer Association, the American Sportfishing Association, America’s Natural Gas Association, the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies, B.A.S.S., LLC, Bridgestone America’s, Inc., Buck Knives, Central Florida Shoot-Out, Daimler, Dallas Safari Club, ExxonMobil Corporation, Knife Rights, Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, National Rifle Association, National Trappers Association, Reynolds American, Inc, and Yamaha Motor Corporation.
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?