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Ending the Year on a High Note. ~ MDF President Miles Moretti


Ending the Year on a High Note

I recently spent a week in Washington D.C. making Capitol Hill visits on a variety of issues. My main reason for the visit was to meet with Senators on the Sportsman’s Bill of 2012 (S 3225). This is an omnibus bill made up of 19 bills related to everything from public access, funding for wetlands, and reauthorization of several wildlife programs which were set to expire. This bill is the greatest wildlife conservation bill in Congress in the last 20 years. The bill had bi-partisan support, (unusual for the Senate), yet to no one’s surprise it was hung up in election year politics. To make a long story short, the Senate voted to consider the bill in the lame duck Congress after the November elections. While short of a victory, the bill is still alive and hopefully will come up for a vote in the Senate. As you read this it probably will be after the election. Please contact your Senators office and ask them to support S. 3225 if it hasn’t been voted on yet. To stay informed on critical legislation at the Federal or State level go to our website and sign up for email alerts. During my D.C. visit, I had a Senator’s staff member tell me that it was his job to represent the residents of his state and to listen to our concerns. As a voter in your state, you can have tremendous influence with your elected representatives if you call and talk to one of the staff members assigned to work on your issue. Develop a relationship with them. These staff members do the research for the Congressman and they will brief them on your issue. It takes time and effort but when you need to reach out to your elected official your voice will be heard. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Survey just released the 2011 National Hunting and Fishing Survey. For the first time in years, we saw an increase in hunters (9%) and anglers (11%). This is great news for the Outdoor Industry which has been experiencing a decline in participation the last few years. Hunters and Anglers also spent over $90 Billion annually despite a sluggish economy. The Hunting and Fishing Industry fuels our economy by creating jobs, and paying taxes. The increase in hunters and anglers can be attributed to many factors. One factor is wildlife conservation groups like MDF have developed youth programs sponsored by our Corporate partners MidwayUSA and others. These programs are reaching out to youth and giving them an outdoor experience. The programs involve the parents as well. Another important reason for growth is the removal of barriers to participation by young hunters. State wildlife agencies have reduced the age for firsttime hunters or eliminated an age limit before buying a license. The age reduction or elimination is generally with turkeys, upland game or doe deer hunts. Youth get a chance to hunt with a mentor or a parent. Hunter education class registrations are at all time highs. This is really good news for the future of hunting and fishing and keeping our hunting heritage for future generations.