25 Years of policy advances for sportsmen and women in Washington, DC.
2013 - CSF Chairman's Club
CSF unveils a new recognition society for individual donors, the Chairman's Club.
2012 - Billfish Conservation Act:
“H.R. 2706” sponsored by CSC Member, Representative Jeff Miller (R-FL), becomes public law to reduce overfishing by prohibiting the sale of Pacific-caught Billfish, except Hawaiian traditional fisheries. “The successful passage of the Billfish Conservation Act of 2012 is a huge victory for sportsmen and the economy, while at the same time promoting conservation efforts and supporting healthy ocean ecosystems.” CSC Co-Chair, Rep. Jeff Miller
2011 - Wolf Delisting:
Congress passes legislation to return grey wolf management of fully recovered wolf populations to state agencies in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, as the first populations were delisted.
2013 UPDATES: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) proposed to remove the gray wolf from the list of threatened and endangered species. . Wolves in the Great Lakes region have been delisted for hunting. . In the USFWS proposal, Mexican wolves in Southwest would continue to be protected as endangered subspecies.
2010 - Conservation Stamp:
“H.R. 1454” Multi-National Species Conservation Funds Semi-Postal Stamp Act, sponsored by former CSC Member and Representative Henry Brown (R-SC), becomes Public law in September – after CSF along with 40 conservation organizations sign a letter sent to House Natural Resource Committee supporting the Act in 2009. This legislation allows the public to purchase a conservation stamp which generates funding for conservation without costing taxpayers money.
2010 - Firearms ExciseTax Improvement Act:
“H.R. 5552” Firearms Excise Tax Improvement Act of 2010 becomes public law with an overwhelming 412-6 vote. Sponsored by CSC Member, Representative Ron Kind (D-WI), as well as 76 co-sponsors including CSC members, this major piece of pro-sportsmen legislation helps firearm and ammunition manufacturers to grow and strengthen wildlife conservation funding by switching to a quarterly excise tax payment system. This allows reinvestment of funds into researching, development, and creating jobs.
2010 – Petition for EPA to Regulate Lead Denied
In response to the Center for Biological Diversity’s petition to the EPA to ban all lead ammunition and fishing tackle, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation engaged several state caucuses and the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses Executive Council to submit a letter of comment to the EPA in opposition to the petition. One state letter and the Executive Council letter were among those cited by the EPA as reasons the petition was ultimately denied.
2009 – Knife Definitions Protected
Members of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus successfully blocked an attempt by the Office of Customs and Border Patrol to alter the definition of switchblade knives to include spring-assisted or one-handed-opening knives.
2008 – Recreational Boaters and Anglers Protected from Complicated Permits
The Clean Boating Act was passed to provide relief to America’s 18-million recreational boaters and anglers from a court ruling which would have instituted a complicated permitting process under rules established by the EPA.
2006 – Increased Funding for Wetlands Conservation
The reauthorization of the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) was signed into law, designating $75 million a year for programs through 2012. Passage of the Act resulted in conserving more than 20 million acres of wetlands and associated uplands in over 1,600 projects across North America. More than $790 million of federal funds have been invested through NAWCA.
2006 – Electronic Duck Stamp
The E-Duck Stamp Act passed and consequently launched a pilot program to make it easier to obtain a federal duck stamp on the internet. The change resulted in the online-sales of 250,195 federal duck stamps which produced $3.7 million towards waterfowl habitat restoration.
2005 – Firearm Industry Protected from Litigation
The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act passes, allowing the firearms industry to turn its focus back to business, rather than spending money defending against dozens of frivolous lawsuits estimated to have cost more than $200 million.
2005 – Funding Increased for Fisheries Conservation, Boating Safety and Boating Access
The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation worked with the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus to pass the Wallop-Breaux Amendment which altered the federal fuel tax to ‘capture’ the remaining 4.8 cents of the 18.3 cents-per-gallon federal fuel tax on motorboat fuel. This change ensured for the first time that all of the excise tax money spent by boaters and anglers on motorboat fuel flows back to boating safety, fisheries conservation and boating access. According to a 2006 survey of the economic impact of hunting and recreational fishing, through this tax, $570 million is collected each year from boaters.
2001 – State Wildlife Grants Program Established
The State Wildlife Grants Program is born out of the Conservation and Reinvestment Act (CARA) and becomes the nation’s core program for keeping wildlife from becoming endangered by providing much needed annual funding for on-the-ground conservation projects in every state and territory. Through 2008, this program resulted in more than $441 million for state wildlife conservation.
1999 – Reel Participation
The Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation established under the Sport Fishing and Boating Safety Act, was created to implement an outreach strategy to increase participation in recreational fishing and boating and thereby increase public appreciation of the need for protecting, conserving and restoring our nation's aquatic natural resources.
Since 2007, RBFF strategies and programs have resulted in:
- 3.73 million newcomers and youth introduced to boating and fishing.
- 2.05 million fishing licenses purchased.
- $30 million generated for state conservation efforts.
- $106 million generated for boating and fishing industries.
1998 – Access Enabled
The Disabled Sportsmen's Access Act passed, making it easier for disabled sportsmen to hunt on Department of Defense lands and allowing DOD to accept donations and volunteers to implement projects to increase access. This resulted in over 25 million acres of DOD lands being opened to the public for hunting.
1997 – Refuge Priorities Reformed
Hunting and fishing are designated as priority uses under the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act, the first major reform legislation for the refuge system in 30 years. Direct results of this Act were:
- Over 300 units in the National Wildlife Refuge System were opened to hunting.
- More than 270 units in the National Wildlife Refuge System offered access to fishing.
1996 – Magnuson-Stevens Act Reauthorized
The key federal law governing marine fisheries management, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, underwent a major revamping that resulted in substantial changes with the goals of conserving fish stocks and restoring overfished populations and with provisions instructing fishery managers to adhere strictly to scientific advice so as not to deplete marine fisheries.
1994 – Gun Act Defeated
Defeated the Firearm Victims Prevention Act, which would have diverted more than $60 million from the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Trust Fund to a newly-created Health Care Trust Fund. If the act had been passed, it would have effectively robbed state fish and wildlife agencies of wildlife management funds.
1994 – Recreational Hunting Safety and Preservation Act
In response to the increase of harassment of hunting activities on public lands from anti-hunting organizations, the Recreational Hunting Safety and Preservation Act was passed, allowing for penalties to be brought against individuals who purposefully disrupt hunting activities on federally-managed lands.
1992 – Mason Neck Wildlife Refuge Vote
Although the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) and Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) were active on many issues in the early years, the first test of their effectiveness occurred in a classic showdown between sportsmen and the animal rights philosophy via an attempt to block a white-tail deer hunt on the Mason Neck Wildlife Refuge, a site overrun with deer, located just 18 miles from the Capitol. At the behest of animal rights groups, a provision to stop the hunt was included in the Interior Appropriations Bill. Lead by the CSC and the CSF, an amendment to support the hunt passed the House by a bipartisan vote. With this resounding win, CSC and CSF earned their stripes and demonstrated that sportsmen could effectively unite on conservation issues.
In the States:
Many legislative victories and policy successes have occurred at the state level over the past 9 years that the CSF’s States Program has been operating; in fact, they are too numerous to list here. Although the following list is by no means meant to be exhaustive, below are a few specific examples of how the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses/Governor’s Sportsmen’s Caucus framework, through working with the CSF, has been successful in defending and promoting the sportsmen's traditions in states across the nation.
2013 - South Carolina Enacts Year-Round Angling and Hunting Licenses:
SC S 584 signed by the governor, enacts 365-day hunting and angling licenses. Saltwater angling 365-day license sales began in 2014, and other licenses are expected to follow in the near future.
2013 - Bear Baiting Ban Defeated in New Hampshire:
In 2013, SB 56 was introduced, which would have banned the practice of taking bears over bait in New Hampshire. Members of the NH Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus successfully educated their colleagues on the value of the bear hunting tradition to sportsmen and women in the state. When the bill was heard in Committee, it received a report of “inexpedient to legislate” which led to the bill being defeated the following week.
2013 - Handgun Carry While Archery Hunting Allowed in Vermont:
Following passage of the Sportsmen’s Act of 2013 (HB 101), archery hunters may now carry handguns while bow hunting. The standalone legislation, rolled into the Sportsmen’s Act, was introduced by Vermont Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Chair Rep. Pat Brennan and the package was signed into law by Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus member Gov. Peter Shumlin.
2013 - Game Designation Given to Michigan Wolves:
Following passage of legislation that established the first Michigan gray wolf hunting season in 2012, the Humane Society of the United States backed an effort to stop wolf hunting in the state through a ballot referendum. In order to keep wolves and all game management under science-based jurisdiction by the Michigan Dept. of Natural Resources, the Michigan Caucus passed S 288. The bill ensures that the DNR can designate “game” species, and only the legislature can remove species from the list of game animals.
2013 - Maryland Expands Sunday Hunting:
Sunday hunting was expanded in Maryland to include two additional counties for deer hunting, and one for turkey. This expansion followed a successful effort in 2012 to expand hunting opportunities on Sunday, which led to turkey hunting being expanded in five counties and deer hunting in four.
2013 - Crossbow Use Expands in Caucus States:
Three states passed legislation concerning crossbows: Maine, Mississippi, and Vermont. In all three instances, members of the state legislative sportsmen’s caucuses played a critical role in advancing the issue. Mississippi enacted full-inclusion provisions, Vermont granted the Fish and Wildlife Board the authority to regulate crossbow use, and Maine expanded crossbow use to include turkey, bear, and moose seasons.
2013 - Interstate Wildlife Violators Compact Legislation Advanced in Northeast:
Vermont became the 39th state to adopt the Interstate Wildlife Violators Compact, following the enactment of legislation in 2012. Also in 2013, Connecticut, Delaware, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island all passed legislation which will allow them to adopt the compact in the future.
2013 - Maryland Passes Innovative Recreational Waterway Access Bill:
With the support of many members of the Maryland Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus and Foundation, HB 797 was signed into law. HB 797 helps to promote access to Maryland’s fishable waters by requiring transportation projects to consider the feasibility of providing and/or improving waterway access along the state’s roads and bridges. Lack of access is one of the primary reasons lapsed anglers give when asked why they no longer participate in the sport. This bill marks a significant step forward, not only in the promotion of recreational access, but also in the potential recruitment and retention of anglers in Maryland.
2013 - Families Afield Legislation Advances:
In 2013, North Carolina became the 35th state to pass Families Afield legislation (apprentice hunting), followed by Pennsylvania, which made revisions to their existing program by expanding the age range of individuals eligible for an apprentice license. 2013 also marked the milestone of one million apprentice licenses sold throughout the nation since the inception of these crucial recruitment programs.
2013 - Alaska Sportsmen and Women Protected from Knife Regulations:
Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus member Gov. Sean Parnell signed HB 33 into law, providing Alaska sportsmen and women protection from the burdensome localized regulation of knives commonly used for hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities. Sponsored by Alaska Legislative Outdoor Heritage Caucus member and NASC Executive Council Vice President Rep. Mark Neuman, HB 33 specified that the state of Alaska is the preeminent regulator of knives and closed loopholes which previously allowed municipalities to classify everyday knives as “switchblades” or “gravity knives.”
2013 - Illinois Expands Youth Apprentice Hunting Opportunities:
S. 853 allows anyone under the age of 16 to apply for a hunting license without first completing a hunting safety course, provided they are hunting under the direct supervision of a properly licensed adult.
2013 - Nevada Amends Anti-Hunting Legislation to Protect Bear Hunt and Sound Wildlife Management:
SB 82, initially introduced at the request of anti-hunting interests, would have required the Nevada Board of Wildlife to end the state’s bear hunt just two years after being authorized for the first time in history. Thanks to the efforts of pro-sportsmen legislators, including those in the Nevada Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, SB 82 was amended favorably to sustain the hunt moving forward.
2013 - Georgia Designates Red Fish as Game Species:
The red fish, the state saltwater fish of Georgia, was officially designated as a game fish this year, putting Georgia closer in line with neighboring state game designations. The law eliminates the commercial harvest of the species making rod and reel the only legal way to take the fish. The bill was signed by Governor Sportsmen’s Caucus member Gov. Nathan Deal.
2012 - Minnesota Creates First Wolf Hunting Season:
On May 3, Gov. Mark Dayton signed into law HF 2171, a game and fish omnibus bill sponsored by Minnesota Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus member Tom Hackbarth, which included authorization for Minnesota’s first Wolf hunting season, as well as a much needed increase in angling and hunting license fees. With about 3,000 gray wolves in the state, Minnesota has the largest population of wolves in the continental U.S. and twice the number needed to declare the species “recovered” by the federal wolf recovery plan under the Endangered Species Act. Delisted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in January 2012, Minnesota’s wolf population is now managed by the Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources.
2012 - Pennsylvania Adds Multi-Year Licenses to Angling Retention Tools:
Legislation (SB 1049) co-sponsored by both Senate Chairs of the Pennsylvania Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucuses, as well as many other Caucus members, was signed into law, allowing the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission to sell multi-year angling licenses to increase retention and participation among the Pennsylvania angling community.
2012 - Alaska Stream Access Expanded:
Alaska legislation (HB 144) highlighting the importance of freshwater angling access was signed into law by Governor Sean Parnell of the Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus. The new law went into effect on July 23, 2012. HB 144, which requires the Alaska Dept. of Natural Resources, working with the Dept. of Fish and Game, to produce and annual report detailing the Department’s efforts to maintain or enhance public access to fishable streams over the course of the previous year.
2012 - South Carolina Passes Resolution on Coastal Marine Spatial Planning:
As a result of the presentation on National Ocean Policy and the associated Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning efforts at the Annual NASC Sportsman-Legislator Summit, South Carolina introduced and subsequently passed a concurrent resolution (HCR 4703) to oppose and refuse to recognize or enforce the coastal and marine spatial planning plans created in South Carolina pursuant to the authority of the National Ocean Council. This resolution was sponsored by Rep. Mike Pitts, NASC President at the time
2012 - Arizona Passes Bill to Allow Firearms Carry During Archery Hunting:
Introduced by Arizona Legislators for Wildlife members, HB 2427’s passage now allows bow hunter to better protect themselves while afield by giving them the legal authority to carry a sidearm during archery season.
2012 - Youth Hunt Protected in New York:
The New York Sportsmen’s Advisory Council, working alongside CSF, was successful in urging the Governor to veto Assembly Bill 10583A, which would have made it impossible for the Dept. of Environmental Conservation to hold the youth firearms deer hunt, and valuable recruitment and retention tool.
2012 – Apprentice Hunting Program Expanded in New Hampshire
In 2012, the New Hampshire Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus was successful in pushing for expansions to their previously established apprentice hunting program. On May 29, Governor Lynch (Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus Member) signed into law SB 297. Now, both resident and non-resident archery hunters will be afforded the opportunity to participate in the apprentice hunting program.
2012 – Further Lead Sinker Restrictions Defeated in New Hampshire and Washington
In January of 2012, legislation was introduced in Washington (HB 2214) which would prohibit the sale or purchase of lead recreational fishing equipment components. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation worked with the leader of the Washington Legislative Sportsmen's Caucus and partners in the sportsmen’s community to educate Washington legislators and others on this issue. House Environment Committee hearings were rescheduled three times and the bill was eventually removed from the Committee’s calendar.
Additionally, by working with members of the New Hampshire Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation staff was successful in preventing the expansion of restrictions on lead fishing tackle in New Hampshire. SB 224, were it passed, would have redefined restricted lead tackle to include all sinkers weighing one ounce or less and all jigs measuring less than 2.5 inches along their longest axis (including skirted jigs).
2011 – Iowa Dove Season Created
In 2011, after ten years of work led by the Iowa Sportsmen’s Caucus chair, SB 464 was passed to create the first dove hunting season since 1918.
2011 – Iowa Lead Bans Denied
A proposal was put forth by the Iowa DNR Commission that would prohibit lead ammunition on all state lands. Working with the Iowa Caucus leadership and Governor Branstad’s office, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation States Program Team was able to ensure the proposal died.
Additionally, through the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) States Program Team’s relationship with both the Iowa Sportsmen’s Caucus and the Governor’s office, CSF was able to stop an attempt by the Iowa DNR Commission to implement a statewide ban on lead fishing tackle in public waters in 2011.
2011 – Conservation Funding Protected in New York
During the 2011 legislative session, New York was in danger of losing approximately $20 million in Federal funds from the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program due to a clause in the budget that would allow revenue from license sales to be swept from the Conservation Fund to cover budget deficits elsewhere. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation States Program Team worked with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and leaders of the New York Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus to resolve this issue. New language in the Governor’s 2012 budget was added to rectify the situation, federal funds were not lost, and the investment of New York’s sportsmen and women in conservation was protected.
2011 – Species Important to Game Fish Populations Protected
The state legislative sportsmen’s caucuses in both New Hampshire and Maryland worked with Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) staff to draft and submit formal written comments to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) on the Menhaden decline and the potential harm to game fish populations that may result. At their November meeting, the ASMFC voted to take measures which could potentially reduce the harvest of this important forage fish by up to 37%, beginning in 2013.
2011 – Lead Bans Defeated in Several Northeast States
Working with the legislative sportsmen’s caucuses in Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Vermont, as well as several partner organizations, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation States Program Team helped prevent further restrictions on lead fishing tackle from moving forward in the Northeast.
2009 – Advancing Hunter Recruitment Programs
Members of our state caucuses introduced many pieces of legislation dealing with the recruitment of new hunters through apprentice hunting license programs, college student hunting licenses, or the like, that have subsequently been passed into law.
As of June 2011, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Idaho, Vermont, California and Louisiana had passed bills to advance hunting recruitment and retention efforts at the state level.
2008 – Anti-Gun Bills Defeated in Several States
The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation worked with the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucus to defeat a series of anti-gun bullet serialization bills in all 12 sportsmen’s caucus states where such legislation was introduced and defeated five anti-gun microstamping bills.
2008 – More lands opened to hunting
No Net Loss legislation passed in 9 states which ensured more than 8 million acres will remain open to hunting forever. As of June 2011, thirteen states have passed no-net-loss legislation that prevents state lands open to hunting and fishing to be closed without an equal amount of suitable lands becoming available for hunting and fishing access.
2008 – First Sales Tax Holiday on Outdoor Gear Established
Legislation in South Carolina created the first sales tax holiday dedicated specifically to outdoor gear such as firearms. This holiday occurred for the first time in December of 2008 and gun sales soared (650% increase in one day), resulting in a huge stimulus to the local firearms businesses of South Carolina.
2005 - Remote Hunting Ban Passes in Tennessee and Virginia:
Remote Hunting is the act of taking wildlife with the simple click of a mouse over the internet, and it clearly violates every aspect of the fair chase ethic that we as outdoorsmen have abided by throughout our hunting heritage. Two states, Tennessee and Virginia, successfully passed this legislation in 2005. Since then, nearly every state in the nation has banned this practice.
2005 - Youth Hunting Advanced in Virginia:
Sportsmen and women have a strong desire to encourage younger generations to be active in the outdoors. In 2005, Virginia passed legislation which furthered the goal by reducing youth license fees, decreasing the minimum age to hunt and promoting organized “Youth Hunts.”
2005 - No-Net-Loss Catches On:
After the introduction of this legislation in Illinois and the sharing of this idea at the NASC kick-off in December 2004, both Arkansas and Maryland successfully advanced the issue in their 2005 legislative sessions. Mississippi and Florida followed suit the next year.
2004 - NASC Formation:
In 2004, NASC was formed at the 1st Annual NASC Sportsman-Legislator Summit held in Whitney, Texas. With the birth of NASC, sportsmen and women finally have a network of state caucuses working together, sharing information, and creating pro-sportsmen’s legislation. “The benefit of having sportsmen’s caucuses in state capitols has never been more obvious. Sharing information and ideas has led to an incomparable force in state governments around the country, one that is focused on passing pro-sportsmen’s legislation and defeating attacks from the anti-hunting lobby.” Sen. John Astle (MD), Maryland State Caucus Co-Chair and 1st NASC Executive Council President.