Contact: Mark Lance, Southeastern States Coordinator
- There was no shortage of initiatives impacting sportsmen and women during the Louisiana’s 2022 General Session.
- House Bill 762 and House Bill 406, authored by National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses Executive Council Member Representative Jerome Zeringue, passed and will establish an additional source of conservation funding.
- House Bill 422, authored by Louisiana Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Member Representative John Stefanski, expands legal methods of taking deer to include airguns and airbows.
- House Bill 1033, authored by Caucus Member Representative Joseph Orgeron, aimed to establish menhaden catch limits and reporting requirements for the commercial menhaden industry.
Why It Matters: The passage of HB 762 and HB 406 positions Louisiana to establish a new conservation funding source where the state could leverage significantly more federal funds to implement conservation programs that benefit fish and wildlife resources. Expanding methods of take through the passage of HB 422 allows for increased access and opportunity, and the passage of HB 1033 would have helped conserve menhaden and support Louisiana’s nearshore recreational fishery.
With Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chair Governor Edwards’ signature, the Louisiana Outdoors Forever Program (Program) and the Louisiana Outdoors Forever Fund will be created through HB 762, and $10 million dollars will be appropriated from the State General Fund to the Louisiana Outdoors Forever Fund per HB 406, which Governor Edwards signed on May 30. The Program’s project selection board will select projects that improve fish and wildlife habitat, water quality, and recreational properties important for public access, including hunting and fishing. The $10 million dollar appropriation provides the Program with seed money that will show the benefits that a dedicated source of conservation funding program provides the state.
HB 422 allows for an additional method of take for deer. Airguns and airbows provide sportsmen and women with a quiet and low recoil method of take. However, it is important to note that airguns and airbows are not included under Pittman-Robertson (PR) excise taxes that serve as a key component of the “user pays — public benefits” American System of Conservation Funding. As states recognize the rising popularity of airguns and airbows, some have also recognized the absence of PR tax revenue from airguns and airbows. Other states, namely Oklahoma and Utah, passed airgun/airbow bills that also require the purchase of a state stamp to enable airgun and airbow hunters to contribute to conservation efforts.
Lastly, HB 1033 died in the Senate Natural Resources Committee. Louisiana’s recreational anglers have continually expressed concerns about the negative impacts the commercial menhaden industry causes. This bill would have begun to bring formal regulation to this industrialized style of fishing in Louisiana, bringing the state closer in line with neighboring Gulf Coast states, while not causing significant impacts to the commercial menhaden industry in the Gulf of Mexico.
Hunters and anglers in Louisiana experienced some wins and setbacks this session. However, there is still plenty of work to be done to advance Sportsman’s Paradise’s outdoor heritage. CSF will continue to work with the Caucus, as well as in-state and national partners, to build off these efforts in future legislative sessions to advance the interests of Louisiana’s hunters ang anglers.
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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?Vote Here
- Increase the number of states with discounted license tailored to specific groups. (5.93%)
- Increase access to public lands. (24.97%)
- Provide more information for new participants. (4.00%)
- Provide hands on opportunities to improve skills and knowledge. (13.11%)
- Engage youth through hunter and conservation programs in schools. (42.88%)
- I feel we have enough sportsmen and women and do not believe R3 programs are necessary. (9.11%)