Directors of Fish and Wildlife Agencies from Western states gathered at the 2020 SCI Convention to discuss successes, strategies and challenged they have experienced during the past year.
Moderated by John Frampton, President and CEO of the Council to Advance Hunting and the Shooting Sports, the panel included Tony Wasley (NV), Mike Fowlks (UT), Ed Schriever (ID), Eddie Grasser (AK), and Terry Steinwand (ND). Commissioner Eric Sparks (AZ) filled in for Director Ty Gray who was unable to participate.
The 2020 panel included the largest number of participants in the history of the annual seminar.
The directors each spent several minutes discussing issues particular to their state.
While several states have conducted polls indicating the majority of their citizens support regulated hunting, others are concerned about the increase in differing views between rural and urban residents and the state governments becoming dominated by urban areas.
Several directors agreed that urbanization was a problem. Director Wasley said, “the problem is that the folks coming into the state don’t understand the North American Model [of Wildlife Conservation].”
Wasley also commented that only two states have more self-described “animal-rightists” than his state of Nevada – California and Rhode Island.
Western states are often thought of as very similar in outlook, conservation methods and problems encountered. The panel made it clear that, although there may be similar concerns such as the spread of chronic wasting disease or increasing urbanization, most of the issues faced by the state wildlife managers are unique to their state. Whether it is the type of species available for hunting, issues related to predator management or sources of department funding, each state is unique.