December 10, 2020 (WASHINGTON, D.C.) - On December 8 and 9, the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation (CSF) hosted the 17th Annual National Assembly of Sportsmen's Caucuses (NASC) Sportsman-Legislator Summit. Though traditionally an in-person event, this year's virtual offering shattered prior attendance records and drew together more than 200 legislators from all 50 states, more than 80 members of state fish and wildlife agency leadership from 36 states, governors offices from 7 states, and staff from both the U.S. Department of the Interior and Department of Agriculture - all to discuss key issues facing the sportsmen's community in the year ahead.
This year's Summit theme was "2020: A Clear Vision for Enhanced Access, Opportunities, and #ResponsibleRecreation." Among the many topics that were discussed were the 30x30 biodiversity movement and how hunters and anglers fit in; the Great American Outdoors Act; online raffles and conservation funding; online hunter education; trapping as a wildlife management tool; increasing angler diversity through urban fishing centers; deficiencies in current poaching penalties and prosecutions; and many more.
Keynote speakers for this year's event included Aurelia Skipwith, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Mr. Mark Duda, Founder and Executive Director of Responsive Management; and, Mr. Randy Newberg, Host of Leupold's Fresh Tracks with Randy Newberg.
"This is the largest gathering of pro-sportsmen legislators in the history of the NASC program, all of whom came together specifically to discuss issues of importance to our hunting and angling traditions," said Jeff Crane, President of the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation. "Despite the challenges 2020 has presented, the 17th Annual NASC Summit was incredibly successful from an attendance perspective, and incredibly important from a policy perspective. This event armed policymakers with greater insight into some of the key issues of concern to our community so that they may return to their respective state capitols and continue to effectively advocate for the interests of their sportsmen and women constituents in the year ahead."
During the Summit, CSF's States Program Team recognized several individuals and groups for their dedicated support to NASC and for their achievements over the past year:
- Friends of NASC Award: American Sportfishing Association and Ducks Unlimited, Inc.
- State Agency of the Year Award: Indiana Department of Natural Resources
- NASC Heritage Awards: South Dakota Legislative Sportsmen's Caucus; Representative Cathryn Harvey (NH); Representative Jerome Zeringue (LA); and, Senator Brian Jones (CA)
- Brad Rowse Award: Senator Bill Heath (GA)
The 2021 NASC Executive Council was also announced. Bipartisan leadership includes President Rep. Brian White (SC), Vice-President Rep. Jeff Goley (NH), and Secretary Rep. Regina Cobb (AZ). Additional members include Sen. Mike Bell (TN), Sen. Robin Webb (KY), Del. Wendell Beitzel (MD), Rep. Scott Bounds (MS), Rep. Patrick Brennan (VT), Rep. Bill Rehm (NM), Rep. Jeff Wardlaw (AR), Rep. Brad Witt (OR), and Rep. Jerome Zeringue (LA), with Sen. Mark Allen (OK) serving as the Alternate Member.
"It has been an honor to serve on the NASC Executive Council over these past years to assist CSF in growing the NASC program into the juggernaut it has become. Over the past 3 years alone, the 49 bipartisan caucuses that make up NASC have successfully worked to enact more than 500 pro-sportsmen and pro-conservation bills at the state level, and I feel incredibly fortunate to have been a part of such an effective organization," said outgoing NASC Executive Council President and Co-Chair of the Georgia Legislative Sportsmen's Caucus, Senator Bill Heath. "The tremendous attendance at this event shows that hunting and angling are issues that Americans, and their elected leaders, care deeply about. With the newly elected Executive Council, and with CSF's continued support and management, I am confident that there are still greater chapters for our nation's sportsmen and women yet to be written."
CSF would like to thank all the sponsors who made this year's event possible. Title Sponsors of this year's event included Bass Pro Shops, Cabela's, National Shooting Sports Foundation, Safari Club International, and Vista Outdoor. Host Sponsor included Charter Communications.
Since 1989, the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation (CSF) has maintained a singleness of purpose that has guided the organization to become the most respected and trusted sportsmen's organization in the political arena. CSF's mission is to work with Congress, governors, and state legislatures to protect and advance hunting, angling, recreational shooting and trapping. The unique and collective force of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus (CSC), the Governors Sportsmen's Caucus (GSC) and the National Assembly of Sportsmen's Caucuses (NASC), working closely with CSF, and with the support of major hunting, angling, recreational shooting and trapping organizations, serves as an unprecedented network of pro-sportsmen elected officials that advance the interests of America's hunters and anglers.