On Wednesday, September 19, 2012, hundreds of representatives from hunting, fishing, and shooting industries, non-profit organizations, and members of Congress met in Washington, D.C. to celebrate the 23rd annual Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) banquet. For almost 25 years now the bi-partisan, bi-cameral efforts of CSF have smoothed the passage of legislation impacting wildlife conservation around the country.
Prior to the evening dinner, CSF held a briefing in the basement of the Capitol Rotunda. In attendance were Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) Co-Chairs Senators Jon Tester (D-MT) and John Thune (R-SD) and CSC Vice-Chair, Representative Bob Latta (R-OH), who spoke on the important role sportsmen and women play in conservation and wildlife management. CSF Board Chairman, the Honorable Lindsay Thomas, delivered the latest data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) 2011 National Survey on Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife Associated Recreation to compare hunting and fishing participation and expenditures to mainstream industries. The results are in, and they look good; the number of hunters and anglers is up across the nation, with 37.4 million of us over the age of 16. 2011 was the first year in many that saw an increase in the number of people enjoying America’s outdoor hunting and fishing heritage. In fact, the $90 billion spent by hunters and anglers would rank them higher than Kroger, Proctor & Gamble, and Costco on the Fortune 500 list, and the $33.9 billion spent by hunters is comparable to the total 2011 revenues for Amazon.com. “To put it in perspective, the 37 million sportsmen and women over the age of 16 in America is the same as the population of the state of California, and the $90 billion they spent in 2011 is the same as the global sales of Apple’s iPad and iPhone in the same year,” commented Jeff Crane, president of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation. “Hunting and fishing have been, and clearly continue to be, important elements of our country’s outdoor heritage and they are critically important to our nation’s economy – particularly the small local economies that support quality hunting and fishing opportunities.” For more statistics on sportsman spending, visit www.sportsmenslink.org.
Safari Club International Executive Committee members Craig Kauffman, Paul Babaz, Sherry Maddox, and Bruce Eavenson helped kick off the annual banquet at the VIP Reception, which was co-sponsored by SCI and Outdoor Channel. CSF President Jeff Crane praised Safari Club International’s commitment to science-based conservation and sound legislation, and expressed his gratitude for SCI’s Diamond Level Sponsorship of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation. SCI President-Elect Craig Kauffman spoke at the reception, challenging everyone to increase their sponsorship donations to the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation. “It requires leadership and vision to maintain the position of prominence that the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation has over the past 23 years,” said Kauffman. “Without the vision of Jeff, his staff, the CSF board of directors and all our fellow hunters and anglers who served on past boards, our community, and our hunting heritage would not be as well protected today as it is.” he concluded.
Also attending the VIP reception was five-time Olympian and Safari Club International Life Member Kim Rhode. Kim highlighted the importance of getting young people involved with the shooting sports in order to preserve the traditions of hunting and fishing in America.