Missouri: Could Archery Become the Official State Sport?

Contact: Kent Keene, Senior Coordinator, Lower Midwestern States and Agriculture Policy

Highlights

  • House Bill 1672, introduced by Missouri Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Member Representative Tim Taylor, seeks to name archery as the official state sport in Missouri.
  • The bill recognizes Holless Wilber Allen, the Missourian who invented the compound bow in the 1960’s.
  • Through programs like the Missouri National Archery in the Schools Program, Missourians of all ages, sizes, and physical ability have the opportunity to participate and succeed in the sport.

Why it matters: Opportunities to celebrate activities related to our outdoor heritage are critical as we continue our work to protect and advance the rights of sportsmen and women to participate in hunting, angling, recreational shooting, and trapping. Archery, among the most time-honored activities associated with our hunting heritage, is a great way to introduce new sportsmen and women, regardless of age, size, or physical ability, to these traditions.

On January 5, Missouri Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Member Representative Tim Taylor introduced House Bill 1672 (HB 1672) which seeks to name archery as the official state sport in Missouri. This relatively short bill carries a tremendous impact as it recognizes archery as a part of Missouri’s heritage. This includes recognition of Missourian Holless Wilber Allen who invented and patented the compound bow in 1966.

For many sportsmen and women, participation in archery served an initial gateway to our time-honored our traditions. With hunting seasons that typically last much longer than firearm hunting seasons for many big game species, archers enjoy increased opportunities to spend time afield. Likewise, many archers enjoy the challenges associated with hunting with a stick and string due to the limited effective range of archery technology compared to many modern firearms, crediting this for feelings of increase intimacy with the outdoors.

Recently, interest in archery has continued to increase thanks, at least in part, to portrayals of archery in film and television. This increased presence in popular culture, combined with the availability of programs like the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) to both hunting and non-hunting audiences. Likewise, this attention could help breathe a sense of optimism as state wildlife management agencies and members of the sporting-conservation community continue to explore opportunities to recruit, retain, and reactivate (efforts known collectively as R3) sportsmen and women.

Again, opportunities to promote our outdoor traditions are paramount to our ability to protect and advance our outdoor heritage. Unique avenues to promote this heritage, such as the efforts associated with Missouri HB 1672, are great ways to draw attention to our time-honored outdoor activities while recruiting the next generation of sportsmen and women.

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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?

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