SCI Leads The Charge In Working With Governors On Hunting And Fishing Seasons
The past few weeks have been challenging to every citizen of this country, and at all levels of American life. Our country’s leaders have had to make difficult decisions from stay-at-home orders to what constitutes essential workers.
The precious freedom to hunt and fish has also been affected in virtually every state. As the leading organization fighting for hunters’ rights around the world, SCI has been actively engaged in working at all levels of government to provide suggestions and solutions to keep as many hunting opportunities available as safely possible.
As part of the proactive effort, SCI President Steve Skold sent the following letter to all 50 governors urging them to keep hunting and fishing seasons open while taking the necessary precautions to keep their residents safe and healthy.
Dear Governor McMaster,
Thank you for your steadfast leadership during the challenging times brought on by the global COVID-19 pandemic. We understand the difficult and constantly changing decisions you and your staff face on a daily basis, not only to ensure the safety of citizens but to try to minimize disruptions to the economy and everyday lives.
As the leading voice in the fight to protect hunting and to promote wildlife conservation, Safari Club International proudly represents tens of thousands of sportsmen and women across the country, including in South Carolina.
South Carolina is home to 847,000 sportsmen & women who spend $1.5 billion annually supporting 40,005 jobs. They are critical to the state’s financial infrastructure and fund the vast majority of conservation efforts in the state through the sale of hunting licenses, tags and permits, as well as excise taxes placed on firearms, ammunition and other hunting-related equipment.
In addition to this crucial economic role, hunting is engrained in the very culture of the state. Hunting, particularly during this pandemic, offers Virginia residents the ability to enjoy the tangible physical and mental benefits that come with being in the outdoors. And sportsmen and women are able to provide themselves, along with their friends and family, organic, free range, ethically sourced wild game during a time when some fear even going to the grocery store.
As your administration continue to navigate the response to this unprecedented pandemic, we respectfully ask that you consider the following requests in your decision making:
-Work with your state fish and wildlife agency or department of natural resources, as well as the hunting community, to ensure that hunting seasons are uninterrupted and administered in a safe and responsible manner.
-Allow public access sites for hunting opportunities to remain open to the best extent possible— sportsmen and women help fund the acquisition and maintenance of public lands and now, more than ever, need access to them.
-Classify hunting and firearms-dependent businesses as “essential businesses,” allowing them to remain open under safe operating procedures and social distancing guidelines. These businesses are necessary for hunting seasons to continue, and they also contribute financially to wildlife conservation efforts by selling hunting licenses, tags and sporting equipment with excise taxes.
Thank you for your time and attention to these important requests. Allowing sportsmen and women to continue their pursuits during this pandemic will provide much needed stability to your residents; it will also ensure that essential funding remains strong in your state for future wildlife conservation.
Please know that the hunting and conservation community is ready to assist in any way we can. We are all in this together. If you have any questions, comments or feedback, please direct them to Cyrus Baird, Manager of State Government Relations, at 703-254-6737 or [email protected]
President, Safari Club International