New Voice For Sportsmen In Washington

Weekly news, tips, trivia, fun facts, and wild tales from the outdoors

Feb. 10, 2010

New Voice For Sportsmen In Washington
Calling it a new and expanded version of the Sporting Conservation Council
utilized by the previous administration, the U.S. Secretary of the Interior
last week announced the creation of the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage
Conservation Council (WHHCC). Also this week, you’ll read about a bill
clarifying shed-antler possession in Virginia,
and a popular new boat name that’s a sure sign-of-the-times.

J.R. Absher

Administration Creates
New Conservation & Hunting Council

Speaking at the Theodore Roosevelt Monument in Washington, D.C. last week, U.S.
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said the new Wildlife and Hunting
Heritage Conservation Council (WHHCC) will help promote and preserve America’s
hunting heritage for future generations and provide a forum for sportsmen and
women to advise the Federal government on policies related to wildlife and
habitat conservation endeavors that benefit hunting and wildlife resources.

“Theodore Roosevelt understood the vital role that hunting plays in American
life, as well as the importance of protecting lands and wildlife to sustain
that tradition,” Secretary Salazar said in a prepared statement. “The
early efforts of America‘s
hunters and anglers to preserve our nation’s wildlife heritage fueled the
modern conservation movement and left us the natural bounty we are now
entrusted with protecting.”

The new council replaces the previously existing Sporting Conservation
Council and expands membership to include the archery, hunting and
shooting sports industries, as well as including broader representation from
the nation’s major hunting organizations, said Salazar.

The WHHCC’s charter defines its responsibilities
in supporting the public, the sporting conservation community, the shooting and
hunting sports industry, wildlife conservation organizations, and the State and
Federal governments.

Bill Targets Shed Antler Possession In Virginia
For years, sportsmen in Virginia
who regularly headed to the woods early each spring to collect shed deer
antlers were unintentionally violating a state law.

That’s because under a very strict and narrow interpretation of the present
statute, possession of all wild animal parts was strictly forbidden.

But a bill passed last week by the Virginia House wisely creates an
exemption for the collection of whitetail deer headgear. Introduced by freshman
state Senator James Edmunds, HB1283 was approved by a 95-1 margin.

It now heads to the Senate where its approval is expected.

As presently written, state law prohibits the ownership of “any wild bird or
wild animal or the carcass or any part thereof, except as specifically
permitted by law.”

Ironically, Edmunds, a Republican who represents Virginia‘s
60th District, discovered he was technically breaking the law by removing deer
antlers from his farm property to use as decorations in his General Assembly
building office at the state capital in Richmond.

He was not cited for his infraction.

Index Shows Recreational Fishing License Sales
Up 4.7 Percent

Based on a 12-state index representing recreational
fishing in the U.S.,
fishing license sales rose an impressive 4.7 percent in 2009.

State natural resource agencies reporting license sales numbers in 2009
included Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New
Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, and Utah. They were selected
on their ability to provide consistent license sales data to illustrate both a
national and regional perspective.

Compilation of the index was a combined effort of the Recreational Boating
& Fishing Foundation (RBFF) and the American Sportfishing
Association (ASA)

Four of the 12 index states — Florida, Minnesota, North Carolina
and Texas
are among the top 10 states in terms of the impact anglers have on the nation’s

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