February 22, 2021

Virtual Conservation Policy Forum Held in the North Star State

Contact: Nick Buggia, Upper Midwestern States Manager

On February 16, the Minnesota Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus (Caucus) hosted a virtual conservation policy forum that was co-hosted with the Minnesota Outdoor Heritage Alliance (MOHA). This was the first event held by the Caucus in several years and the first virtual event a National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucus (NASC) has held in the Midwest Region.

The event was well-attended by members of the sporting conservation community, sportsmen’s community partners, and several legislators. Minnesota Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chairs Senators Carrie Ruud (R) and David Tomassoni (I) and Representatives Leon Lillie (DFL) and Jim Nash (R) all spoke on the importance of hunting and fishing in the North Star State.

 “As Co-Chair of the Minnesota Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, I understand the important role sportsmen and women have in conserving all the wonderful natural resources that Minnesota has to offer. It was nice to see so many other legislators and organizations take part in this virtual policy forum, and it was a great opportunity to hear about important issues facing the hunters and anglers within our state,” said Senator Ruud.   

A variety of important topics were discussed during this event with  Craig Engwall from the Minnesota Deer Hunters kicking things off with  a presentation on Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). This was followed by discussions on dedicated funds for conservation, led by MOHA president Dave Carlson, and the importance of public access to sportsmen and women, led by William Clayton from Pheasants Forever. From there, Ducks Unlimited’s Kyle Rorah gave a brief presentation on wetland conservation and habitat projects in the state, and CSF’s Upper Midwestern States Manager Nick Buggia concluded the event by giving a brief presentation on the economic impact of Minnesota’s hunters and anglers and the money they generate for conservation through the American System of Conservation Funding.   

Following the presentations, many legislators participated in a Q&A forum and further discussed conservation legislation currently before the legislature.  

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?

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