Daily Archives: October 31, 2014

Boone and Crockett Club Supports New Funding for Conservation

Four Boone and Crockett Club members are serving on a panel charged with developing new funding mechanisms for conservation. The goal is bridging the funding gap between game and nongame species – a concept heartily endorsed by the Club.

The 20-member Blue Ribbon Panel on Sustaining America’s Diverse Fish and Wildlife Resources was announced at a recent Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies meeting.

The panel is co-chaired by Johnny Morris, CEO of Bass Pro Shops and regular member of Boone and Crockett Club. The panel also includes three professional members of the Club including Becky Humphries, Steve Williams and John Tomke.
Outdoor recreation retail and manufacturing sectors, energy and automotive industries, private landowners, educational institutions, conservation organizations, sportsmen’s groups and state conservation agencies are represented on the panel. Over the next year, the group will produce recommendations and policy options to fund conservation of the full array of fish and wildlife species.

Those recommendations will be presented to Congress and the President.

“Sportsmen don’t just advocate for game species, but for all wildlife, and the Boone and Crockett Club enthusiastically supports the concept of new funding sources and a more comprehensive approach to conservation,” said Bill Demmer, Club president.

Demmer added that increasing public and private funding for conservation was listed as a priority action item in a White House conference convened by President Bush in 2008. Since then, it’s become even more apparent that America’s historic successes in conservation are not sustainable under current funding models – especially given today’s growing challenges to fisheries, wildlife and other natural resources.

Goals and actions from the White House conference included identifying and developing new sources of dedicated, long-term funding for federal, state, and tribal fish and wildlife agencies to support conservation and hunting, and establish a blue ribbon panel of experts on wildlife funding to do so.

Morris said, “By assembling this panel of highly regarded leaders and problem solvers, we will find a way forward that safeguards not only vital natural resources, but also our nation’s economic prosperity and outdoor heritage.”

Former Wyoming governor Dave Freudenthal, who co-chairs the panel alongside Morris, said, “With fish and wildlife species and natural resource-based enterprise at stake, we can’t afford an ‘us vs. them’ mentality. It is time to create certainty for both industry and the conservation community by building a 21st Century funding model.”

State hunting and fishing license dollars, federal excise taxes on hunting and fishing gear and motorboat fuel taxes established a “user pay-public benefit” model that has provided the backbone for funding states’ fish and wildlife personnel and conservation programs over the past century.

Despite the success of this funding model, the costs of fish and wildlife conservation are increasing with public demands for new and expanded services. There has also always been a significant gap in dedicated funding for conserving the 95 percent of all species that are neither hunted nor fished. Professional managers and the organizations and individuals that help support them now must address a large number of new pressures on the landscape that are rapidly changing the outlook for North America’s fish and wildlife.

The co-chairs expect to add approximately three more individuals and four ex officio participants to the panel before it convenes its first meeting in early 2015.

Game Wardens & Kansas Highway Patrol to conduct checkpoint

Joint effort will check drivers’ licenses and possession of wildlife.

Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism (KDWPT) game wardens and Kansas Highway Patrol (KHP) troopers will conduct a joint checkpoint in north central Kansas in mid-November. The regular pheasant and quail seasons open November 8, the greater prairie chicken regular season starts November 15 and duck and goose seasons will also be underway. The checkpoint is intended to help enforce state and federal wildlife laws, as well as the state’s driver’s licensing laws.

KHP troopers will operate the first stage of the checkpoint to be sure drivers are properly licensed to be driving. If a driver does not have a valid license, appropriate enforcement actions will be taken. Travelers should not expect major delays from this portion of the checkpoint.

Occupants of vehicles in the first check lane will be asked if they are hunters or are transporting wildlife.  If they are in either case, drivers will be directed to a nearby KDWPT check lane where game wardens will check for required licenses and permits, count the game and gather biological, harvest, and hunter success information. This portion of the checkpoint should also cause minimal delay.

Additional wildlife checkpoints will occur around the state during the fall and winter hunting seasons.