By John Culclasure, Central Appalachian States Manager
On July 12, the Virginia Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus visited St. Paul, Virginia on a multi-day trip to experience Southwest Virginia’s rich outdoor resources and reflect on the Caucus’s successful 2018 legislative session.
The Caucus held weekly policy meetings during session under the leadership of Caucus Co-Chairs Senator Emmett Hanger and Delegate James Edmunds, and a number of pro-sportsmen’s bills were signed into law this year.
Del. Edmunds said, “The inaugural Sportsmen’s Caucus trip was a huge success. Many thanks to all the committed Caucus members and partners that made the event possible, and I look forward to building off the momentum of the trip to grow the Caucus for the benefit of Virginia’s sportsmen and women.”
During the trip, legislators and partners from across the state drove ATVs on a portion of the Spearhead Trails system, floated the Clinch River, and learned about the natural history of the region from staff of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and conservation partners.
Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) Central Appalachian States Manager John Culclasure attended the two-day event and addressed attendees at the opening dinner about the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses and the economic importance of sportsmen and women to the Commonwealth.
The Caucus hopes to turn the trip into an annual event that brings together Virginia’s conservation community.
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%)