On March 22, the West Virginia Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus hosted a breakfast event in the State Capitol in Charleston. The event provided the opportunity for state legislators, officials from the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources and representatives from local and national sportsmen’s groups to discuss conservation policy priorities for the Mountain State.
West Virginia Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chairs Delegate Rupie Phillips, Delegate Kayla Kessinger and Senator Mark Maynard spoke about the economic importance of sportsmen and women to the state and highlighted a number of current Caucus priority bills, including Senate Bill 345, which would legalize Sunday hunting statewide on private lands with the written permission of the landowner. Sunday hunting in West Virginia is permitted on private lands on a county-by-county basis with 22 of the state’s 55 counties prohibiting Sunday hunting.
Caucus Co-Chair Delegate Rupie Phillips noted, “Today’s event showcased the strength of the West Virginia Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus and our commitment to protecting West Virginia’s sporting traditions.”
Caucus Co-Chair Delegate Kayla Kessinger remarked, “I am proud to Co-Chair the West Virginia Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus and strongly believe in the value of the Caucus working collectively to advance sound policy for the sportsmen and women of West Virginia.”
Organizations represented at the event included the West Virginia Bowhunters Association, the West Virginia State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, the Ruffed Grouse Society, the National Rifle Association and the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
Caucus Co-Chair Senator Mark Maynard said, “Many thanks to my fellow members in the West Virginia Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus for their dedication to supporting our state’s outdoor sporting heritage. With the support of the Caucus, I hope that we will be able to expand Sunday hunting opportunities this year so that West Virginians in all 55 counties can hunt seven days a week.”
West Virginia’s 477,000 sportsmen and women support more than 12,500 jobs in the state and contribute more than $1.1 billion to the state’s economy.
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?