On September 21, just five days before the state officially recognized National Hunting and Fishing Day, the Wisconsin Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus (WLSC) hosted their first ever “Cast n Blast” event. The sun shined on Yellowstone Lake State Park, where the event was held, making it an ideal day for sportsmen’s community members, Department of Natural Resources (DNR) staff, Department of Tourism staff, and outdoor industry representatives to join WLSC members for a day of fishing and shooting.
“The day turned out to be perfect for getting outdoors and enjoying the camaraderie shared by those within the sportsmen’s community,” said Senator Mark Miller, Co-Chair of WLSC. “I am proud to be a leader of this bipartisan group and look forward to more events such as this in the future.”
Attendees landed walleye, crappie, and bass while out on Yellowstone Lake with captains Representative Ken Skowronski, Dan Brovarney (Wisconsin B.A.S.S.), and Jim Zimmerman (Yellowstone Lake Bait & Tackle). Those who shot, enjoyed expert tutelage from Department of Natural Resources hunting and shooting sports instructors, who brought firearms and crossbows for attendees to try. A representative from Vortex Optics, a Wisconsin-based manufacturer of premium scopes and binoculars, was also in attendance.
During the event, Co-Chair of WLSC Representative Joel Kleefisch commented, “Outdoor traditions are engrained into the cultural fabric of Wisconsin and are integral to both our communities and economy here in the state.” Kleefisch continued, “It is therefore important to engage as lawmakers with the sportsmen’s community to ensure we understand their concerns and they understand the political challenges and realities we face in Madison.”
Representative Nick Milroy, Co-Chair of WLSC, added, “The importance of protecting and advancing the sportsmen’s traditions are integral to fish and wildlife conservation efforts in Wisconsin. Through purchasing licenses, tags and duck stamps, and by paying excise taxes on firearms, ammunition, archery equipment, fishing tackle, motorboat fuel, and other hunting and fishing equipment, sportsmen and women drive conservation funding in the United States.” Collectively, these funding sources create the American System of Conservation Funding, a unique “user-pays, public-benefits” System.
The event closed with a conservation award ceremony held by Host Sponsor Ducks Unlimited, who awarded all four Caucus Co-Chairs with carved decoys for their leadership in the Wisconsin sportsmen’s community. “This bipartisan and bicameral caucus is and will continue to be a champion for the sportsmen and women of Wisconsin,” said Senator Terry Moulton, Co-Chair of WLSC. “Hunting, angling, recreational shooting and trapping are non-partisan issues and so we will strive to keep it that way as we work collaboratively to find solutions to issues affecting our cherished outdoor pastimes.”
The WLSC “Cast n Blast” Title Sponsors included: National Wild Turkey Federation, National Marine Manufacturers Association. Host sponsors included: Ducks Unlimited. Supporters included: Vortex Optics, Wisconsin B.A.S.S. Nation, Yellowstone Lake Bait & Tackle. A special thanks to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for their support and assistance.
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?