Sportsmen’s Issues Gain Popularity with State Legislators
Last week in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, more than 2,000 state legislators, business leaders, and public policy experts from around the country gathered at the American Legislative Exchange Council to discuss issues ranging from health care to immigration. But also moving up the list of importance are sportsmen’s issues. With the increased momentum of the NASC network and the 33 affiliated state sportsmen’s caucuses, state legislatures have seen an increase in the number of pro-sportsmen’s bills being introduced and passed across the country.
For the third year, NASC hosted a shoot at the national conference and each year the shoots have become more popular, signaling a strong indication of how sportsmen’s issues have moved up on the priority list. The event allows legislators who are engaged in their sportsmen’s caucus to interact with other like-minded legislators and to build a network of colleagues across state lines that can be called upon to provide advice and insight when dealing with hunting and fishing legislation in their state. Also participating in the shoot were NASC partners, the National Wild Turkey Federation, Comcast, Anheuser Bush and UST, with support from Browning and Winchester.
Utah Legislators are Home on the Range
The Utah Sportsmen’s Caucus took a break from their hectic summer legislative schedule to spend time on the shooting range with colleagues and family at a shoot hosted at Browning headquarters near Morgan, Utah. It was the first ever shoot for the caucus that launched last spring, and with a turn out of 70 participants, the Utah Sportsmen’s Caucus is proving that they intend to be very active.
Impressed by the turnout of legislators, Browning Senior Vice President, Travis Hall commented, “Browning is always looking toward the future, and in doing so, we must consider the implications that legislation has on hunting and the shooting sports. We see it as our responsibility to engage legislators and offer them the introduction and experience, as well as the excitement of the outdoors.”
Other hosts of the event included Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife and the Utah State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation.
In addition to the shoot at Browning, Utah legislators have also been taking courses to receive their concealed carry weapon permits. The courses have been spearheaded and taught by sportsmen’s caucus member, Representative Curt Oda, who estimates that more than half of the legislators in the Utah Legislature now have CCW permits.
North Carolina’s Passion for Hunting and Fishing is Overwhelming
As highlighted in a new report, North Carolina’s passion for hunting and fishing is overwhelming, with an approval rating of 84% and 95% respectively. Furthermore, 83% agree that hunting and fishing are part of the scientific management of fish and wildlife populations.
The report, released by the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses and the North Carolina State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, is aimed at providing valuable insight for state legislators by highlighting key public opinion data, as well as how the economics of hunting and fishing impact the state.
As revealed in the report, North Carolina ranks 10th in the nation for the number of paid hunting license holders, with 427,608 hunting licenses sold. When you take into account the revenue that is derived from the sale of resident, non-resident, tags, permits and stamps that are affiliated with hunting in North Carolina, the revenue is close to $10 million.
When it comes to fishing, North Carolina ranks 13th in the nation for the number of paid fishing license holders, with more than 700,000 fishing licenses sold. The gross revenue from the sale of resident, non-resident, tags, permits and stamp associated with fishing totals more than $13 million. This funding provides a large portion of the revenue for the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.
“When you look at hunting and fishing in terms of economics, it becomes clear that legislators need to consider the implications of the legislation they are writing, introducing and voting on. It is equally important for legislators to be aware of the public support of these activities,” noted Aaron Hobbs, spokesperson for the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses.
The report, North Carolina Sportsmen – The Broader Picture, was released at the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission Headquarters to a gathering of state legislators.
“Facts and figures presented in The Broader Picture show that the sportsmen of North Carolina through continued support of our hunting and fishing resources have an overall effect on both the economy and more opportunities to enjoy recreational activities within the state,” remarked Carl Dixon, President of the North Carolina State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation.
California Caucus Stops Anti-Bill
The National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses is praising the diligent work of key members of the California Outdoor Sporting Caucus, who worked to make sure sportsmen’s concerns were represented in stopping legislation that called for dogs over six months to be spayed or neutered and would have outlawed the breeding of accomplished sporting dogs.
“Defeating this bill for this year is a big win for California’s sportsmen. This legislation would have eliminated sportsmen’s ability to breed and hunt with mixed breed dogs. With the bill being so far-ranging, it had to be amended six times in various efforts to garner support. While it is dead for this year, the issue will no doubt be back, and when it returns, the California Outdoor Sporting Caucus will be there representing sportsmen’s opposition, helping to defeat it once again,” stated Senator Dennis Hollingsworth, California Caucus Co-Chair.