State legislators from 30 states representing the National Assembly of Sportsmen's Caucuses (NASC) network joined the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation (CSF) and others from the sportsmen conservation community in Biloxi, Mississippi for the 13th Annual Sportsman-Legislator Summit.
Themed, "Access: the Key to Advancing Our Sporting Traditions," this annual Summit brings together pro-sportsmen legislators, outdoor industry leaders, state and federal natural resources agency representatives, and other sportsmen's organizations from across the country to address important hunting, angling, and other outdoor recreation and conservation-related issues.
"This event, which has grown larger each year, provides an opportunity for legislators to hear from the nation's leaders within the hunting and fishing industry, and provides a forum for education and information collaboration between legislators and members of the sportsmen's community," said CSF President Jeff Crane.
Kicking off this year's Summit was Mississippi Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves who welcomed attendees to his home state.
This year's policy sessions covered: sportsmen's access to public and private lands; challenges facing knife owners; anti-sportsmen's organizations tactics; hunter, shooter, and angler recruitment and retention; trapping issues and trends; Gulf of Mexico restoration; feral hogs management strategies; game cameras and the fair chase ethic; state-based conservation funding opportunities; Magnuson-Stevens Act and red snapper management; and traditional ammunition challenges; among other topics.
"The NASC Summit has become an important tool for shaping sportsmen's conservation policies for the upcoming legislative sessions and for sharing successes and challenges related to hunting and fishing policy," said outgoing NASC President, Senator Robin Webb (KY).
The Summit closed with an awards ceremony, in which CSF Honorary Board Member Brad Franklin of Yamaha Motor Corporation was presented with the Brad Rowse Leadership Award, CSF's highest honor for individuals who have been especially supportive of the NASC program. The Friends of NASC Award was presented to National Wild Turkey Federation, Pheasants Forever, and Safari Club International for their state-level support. NASC Heritage Awards, presented to each region, were awarded to Representative Scott Bounds (MS), Representative Bill Rehm (NM), Senator Ken Schilz (NE), and the Delaware Legislative Sportsmen's Caucus.
The 2017 NASC Executive Council was announced, which includes 14 members: Rep. Brandon Phelps (IL) (President), Sen. Bill Heath (GA) (Vice President), Rep. Brian White (SC) (Secretary), Sen. Mike Green (MI), Sen. Robin Webb (KY), Del. Wendell Beitzel (MD), Rep. Linda Black (MO), Rep. Patrick Brennan (VT), Rep. Sal Esquivel (OR), Rep. Jeff Goley (NH), Rep. Mark Neuman (AK), Rep. Bill Rehm (NM). Alternate members include Rep. Scott Bounds (MS) and Rep. Jeff Wardlaw (AR).
Title Sponsors included: Cabela's Outdoor Fund, National Shooting Sports Foundation, Safari Club International, and Winchester Ammunition. Host Sponsors included: Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Bayer HealthCare, National Rifle Association, Time Warner Cable, and Vista Outdoor Inc. Co-Host Sponsors included: Bass Pro Shops, Dallas Safari Club, Mississippi Legislative Sportsmen's Caucus, Outdoor Sportsman Group, Plano Synergy, Pheasants Forever, Reynolds American, Richard Childress Racing, Shell Oil Company, and Shimano American Corporation.
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- User conflicts with non-consumptive users (7.79%)
- Inadequate funding (whether due to budget, fire-borrowing, or other reasons) for improving wildlife populations and habitat (10.39%)
- Poor habitat and land management (12.99%)
- Access restrictions to hunting, fishing, or recreational shooting (11.69%)
- Privatization or transfer of federal public lands (57.14%)