Boone and Crockett Club Initiatives 2019-2020Where Hunting and Fishing Happen, Conservation Happens®
For the past 133 years the Boone and Crockett Club has focused its efforts on key initiatives that led to the establishment of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. Today, the Club is engaging its network of conservation professionals in support of advancing this Model and addressing any threats to it. The Club maintains that public hunting, fishing, and trapping are irreplaceable mechanisms for wildlife and habitat conservation.
Access: The Open Lands Initiative
Across the West, over 9 million acres of federal land remains difficult or legally impossible to access for today's hunters and anglers. Access via private land to reach Federal land for hunting and angling is declining. The checkerboard pattern of Federal land ownership compounds the problem.
The Club made fixing this a priority starting in 2011, successfully starting annual appropriations for "recreational access" land acquisition under the Land and Water Conservation Fund for BLM and Forest Service lands. Since then hundreds of thousands of acres of land, and many miles of streams, have become accessible to the public for hunting and angling.
More needs to be done. A new Open Lands Initiative will target additional fee acquisitions, easements, or voluntary agreements with landowners to open significant Federal land to sportsmen and sportswomen.
Funding: Recovering America's Wildlife Act (RAWA)
The Morris-Freudenthal Blue Ribbon Panel on Sustaining America's Diverse Fish and Wildlife Resources concluded that funding was needed for state wildlife agencies to conserve at-risk wildlife species. As millions of dollars are spent each year on species listed as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), little is done for those species that may be on the way to an ESA listing.
The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF), Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA) and the National Wildlife Federation have done great work developing the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act to solve this problem, but it has become apparent that specialized help is needed to fit this effort into the challenging national budget situation. Revenue from oil and gas royalties going into the Treasury are held for “deficit reduction” when it should be spent for conservation purposes.
The Club will engage the House and Senate leadership on the budgetary agreement needed to advance RAWA and secure mandatory funding.
Millions of acres of public lands across the west have become unable to support game animals and other wildlife because of lack of active management of our forests and grasslands. This has reduced hunting opportunity and license sales, which has impacted funding under the North American Model of Wildlife conservation. While we gained some ground on forest management and wildfire funding with the Omnibus we continue to actively work with members of Congress on forest titles in the Farm Bill. In addition, the Club has produced papers on facultative grazing; the science that proves grazing on public lands is essential to the health of those lands and wildlife populations that subsequently are able to inhabit those lands. It took decades for our public lands to get to this dilapidated state and it will take at least a decade to implement a course correction and fix the problem. This will provide more recreational and hunting opportunity on public lands.
Read our position on CWD...
Wildlife Health: The Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Initiative
CWD is spreading at an accelerated rate and is now found in 25 states and three Canadian provinces. Many big game conservation organizations and state wildlife agencies have begun working on this dire threat to deer and elk. The Club, as a founding partner of the CWD Alliance (2002), will build out the advocacy program for CWD focusing on state-level fixes. We have already engaged in Texas and Tennessee where the wildlife commissions have issued new rules on transportation of high-risk animals and parts, surveillance, and response. We are working currently with Mississippi. These states have few or no detections of the disease. A complete effort requires more engagement in states such as Nebraska, Kansas, Wyoming, Colorado, and the Great Lakes states where the disease is spreading and intensifying. The two things we can control presently is stopping the spread of the disease from one local to another by transporting captive live deer and elk, and the proper handling of the carcasses of harvested game. The Club will propose a ban on interstate transportation of live cervids until a certifiable live test can be identified. In addition, the Club is investing heavily in research to find a live test using the best and brightest scientific minds that are most familiar with this disease.
Read more about this initiative...
Protecting Wildlife from Illegal Take: Poach and Pay
The Club conducted a nationwide assessment that uncovered problems and opportunities in the enforcement of game laws. States vary widely in penalties for poaching. In Idaho, for example, valid civil penalties for restitution to state wildlife agencies are often either ignored by prosecutors or rejected by the courts. The next step for this initiative is education for our judiciary (prosecutors and judges) that poaching is not a victimless crime. The Club will also advocate for a model game law in each state that enforces civil penalties and escalates these penalties according to the Boone and Crockett record book score for poaching trophy-class wildlife. In order to preserve game species and the public’s support of hunting we need to police our ranks and make a clear distinction between those that abide by the law and are working with wildlife conservation, and those that break the law and undermine these efforts. Conservation had a beginning, but it has no end.
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You don't have to have a trophy in the record book to belong to the Boone and Crockett Club, just a passion for big game and the desire to keep hunting them.