By John Culclasure, Central Appalachian States Manager
On January 17, the Virginia Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus held its first meeting of the 2019 legislative session in Richmond, Virginia. The meeting was attended by Caucus members, representatives from state agencies, and in-state sportsmen’s groups.
Cale Godfrey, Assistant Chief of Wildlife Resources for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, gave a presentation on deer and bear management in the Commonwealth, including updates on population trends, harvest rates, and hunting license sales. Godfrey also discussed chronic wasting disease (CWD) as well as the agency’s recently released Recruitment, Retention, and Reactivation Plan.
Under the leadership of Caucus Chairs Senator Emmett Hanger and Delegate James Edmunds, the Caucus meets regularly during session to discuss issues impacting Virginia’s sportsmen and women. This year, the Caucus is also partnering with the Virginia Sportsmen’s Foundation to support the 28th Annual Governor’s Sportsmen Chili Cook-Off.
“Following a year of tremendous growth and engagement for the Caucus, I’m excited about this year and look forward to working with my colleagues in the Caucus to promote and protect Virginia’s sporting heritage,” said Del. Edmunds.
Over 1 million hunters and anglers in Virginia spend more than $2 billion annually, which generates more than 39,000 jobs in the state through the American System of Conservation Funding.
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?