By John Culclasure, Central Appalachian States Manager
On February 21, the Virginia Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus partnered with the Virginia Sportsmen’s Foundation to host the 28th Annual Wild Game Chili Cook-Off in Richmond.
Approximately 150 people, including more than 30 legislators, attended the non-partisan event held in the Old City Hall where attendees sampled a variety of wild game chili recipes. The event brings together legislators and state officials from both sides of the aisle, provides an opportunity for nonhunters to try wild game, and helps promote Virginia’s outdoor traditions. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation was a proud sponsor of the event.
Sheriff Ken Stolle started the event in 1992 in his session apartment when he was a freshman State Senator, and it has grown to one of the most popular events while the General Assembly is in town.
“We continue to put on this event, because it’s one of the rare times when you can get everyone involved in the General Assembly together just for fun. It’s a no-politics zone and frankly is, for many of the attendees, the only time of the year they get to try wild game,” said Virginia Sportsmen’s Foundation President Will Payne.
Virginia’s 1.07 million hunters and anglers spend over $2 billion dollars annually on their pursuits which supports over 39,000 jobs in the state and generates more than $242 million in state and local taxes.
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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. (5.19%)
- Increase access to public lands. (24.77%)
- Provide more information for new participants. (4.09%)
- Provide hands on opportunities to improve skills and knowledge. (13.19%)
- Engage youth through hunter and conservation programs in schools. (42.98%)
- I feel we have enough sportsmen and women and do not believe R3 programs are necessary. (9.79%)