Contact: Aoibheann Cline, Western States Coordinator
On April 18th, the Washington Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus hosted its annual sportsmen’s shootout and luncheon at Evergreen Sportsmen’s Club in Littlerock.
The event kicked off with a policy and firearms safety briefing at the Capitol, led by a National Rifle Association (NRA) Certified Instructor and Certified Master Range Safety Officer.
The annual shootout provides an opportunity to bring hunters, recreational shooters, legislators and the sportsmen’s community together to discuss priority issues for sportsmen and women in Washington and highlight the conservation and economic benefits that sportsmen and women bring to the state. In 2018, sportsmen and women contributed more than $67 million to conservation through the American System of Conservation Funding.
Recreational shooters of all ages and experience levels had the opportunity to participate in an educational day on the range, including a rifle, pistol, and trap shooting competition. Instructors and Range Safety Officers were present at each station.
Despite conflicting floor sessions, members and staff made it a priority to attend the shootout. Bipartisan Caucus Co-Chairs Senators Phil Fortunato and Dean Takko joined the group as experienced sportsmen, while Senators Liz Lovelett and Emily Randall found success and enthusiasm for shooting sports as beginners.
“I appreciate the legislative shootout because it gives me a chance to invite members that have little or no experience with a firearm to see how they work and to explain to them the technical aspects of the weapon. People that do not have experience with firearms have misconception of how they operate. This gives us a chance to explain things to them and answer their questions,” said Sen. Takko.
In addition to the shooting competition, attendees were able to participate in Cowboy Action Shooting led by representatives from the Single Action Shooting Society. i5 Guns brought additional firearms including modern sporting rifles, and a variety of suppressed guns for attendees to experience shooting.
Sponsors included CSF; Cabela’s; i5 Guns; National Shooting Sports Foundation; Ducks Unlimited; NRA; Public Affairs of Washington; Hunting Works for Washington; Pheasants Forever; Ken Johnson; Port Orchard License; Melanie Stewart and Associates; and Burns Towing, Inc.
Washington’s more than 1 million hunters and anglers spend $1.6 billion annually and create nearly 22,000 jobs each year.
Left to right: Sen. Dean Takko, Sen. Liz Lovelett and Sen. Emily Randall
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?