Nearly 50 bipartisan legislators and leaders from state fish and wildlife agencies from more than 25 states gathered in Greensboro, Georgia for the 16th Annual National Assembly of Sportsmen's Caucuses (NASC) Sportsman-Legislator Summit.
Hosted by the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation (CSF), this year's Summit theme was "Partners Advancing America's Conservation Movement: NASC, Fish & Wildlife Agencies, Industry and NGOs." Among the many topics that were discussed included state and federal R3 efforts; angling access issues; chronic wasting disease; firearms issues; hunting contest bans; airguns and the American System of Conservation Funding; Asian carp; the importance of fish hatcheries; strategies to effectively communicate and debate about hunting and shooting sports issues; and many more.
"This is the largest gathering of pro-sportsmen legislators who come together to discuss issues that are of great importance to our hunting and angling traditions," said Jeff Crane, President of the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation. "The 16th Annual NASC Summit was successful in that it brought together our bipartisan caucus leaders and members, fish and wildlife agency leaders, NGO representatives, and leading industry partners to focus on how to advance opportunities for sportsmen and women and to ensure sound, science-driven conservation policies are enacted."
During the Summit, CSF's States Program Team recognized several individuals and groups for their dedicated support to NASC.
- Friends of NASC Award: Shimano American Corp. and Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever
- The State Agency of the Year: Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
- NASC Heritage Awards: Rep. David Wilson (CT), Sen. Mike Bell (TN), Sen. Mark Allen (OK), Rep. Casey Snider (UT)
- Caucus Inception Award: Rhode Island Legislative Sportsmen's Caucus
The 2020 NASC Executive Council was also announced. Leadership includes Sen. Bill Heath (GA) (President), Rep. Brian White (SC) (Vice President), and Rep. Jeff Goley (NH) (Secretary). Members include Del. Wendell Beitzel (MD), Sen. Mike Bell (TN), Rep. Scott Bounds (MS), Rep. Patrick Brennan (VT), Rep. Regina Cobb (AZ), Rep. Bill Rehm (NM), Rep. Jeff Wardlaw (AR), Sen. Robin Webb (KY), and Rep. Jerome Zeringue (LA). Alternate members include Rep. Brad Witt (OR) and Sen. Mark Allen (OK).
Key partnership interaction during the Summit included CSF and B.A.S.S. signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) formalizing their partnership to further conservation efforts, and a special presentation with Safari Club International (SCI) recognizing their long-standing financial support of NASC and the Annual Summit.
NASC Executive Council President and Co-Chair of the Georgia Legislative Sportsmen's Caucus, Senator Bill Heath, thanked attendees for coming, "We are absolutely thrilled to be able to host this year's Summit in Georgia and appreciate everyone taking the time to join us for this important opportunity to gather to discuss issues that are critical to protecting and advancing our rights as sportsmen and women."
Title Sponsors included: Bass Pro Shops, Cabela's, Louisiana Alligator Advisory Council, Louisiana Wildlife & Fisheries, National Shooting Sports Foundation, Safari Club International, and Vista Outdoor. Host Sponsors included: Charter Communications and the National Rifle Association Foundation.
Next year's summit will be held in Arkansas.
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- Improve hunter and target shooter involvement in regulatory and legislative processes. (11.49%)
- Enact or expand temporary hunter education deferral programs (apprentice license programs, multiyear options, programs for all first-time hunters regardless of age, and programs promoting hunting of multiple game species). (12.26%)
- Offer shooting sports and hunter education as school activities and recreation programs. (63.22%)
- Link existing programming into family-oriented organizations (such as churches and home-school groups) where participants will have the social support to continue. (13.03%)