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ECC Future of FL Hunting Summit

Capt Jeff

Well-known member
Everglades Coordinating Council
Bullet Points
Future of Hunting in FL Summit

Everglades Coordinating Council delegates and affiliate membership:

The following are a list of “bullet points� that were compiled by ECC delegates based upon knowledge of issues, extensive discussion, and input from affiliate membership. They are being provided as suggestions for your consideration when developing input for the breakout sessions and other hunting summit forums.

1. Recruiting and Retaining Hunters:

a) Liberal public access, including vehicular access, and camping are vital to recruiting and retaining hunters.

b) Establish regulated “passive� ORV use without prejudice for use for hunting, with special accommodations for senior hunters.

c) Hunter education and youth camp programs should emphasize hunting as being an exciting and enjoyable experience, rather than simply a tool for conservation.

d) “Multi-use and land stewardship� rather than “environmental sensitivity� should be emphasized in hunter education classes.

e) Urge industry, sportsmen’s associations, and individual hunters to support Boy Scout and other youth programs that promote hunting and shooting sports.

f) State agencies, industry, and sportsmen’s groups should sponsor off-season field trips for diverse family-oriented groups (religious, civic, and political organizations) to hunting areas, simulating hunting by showing them tracks, feeding signs, rubs and scrapes, and other game sign.

g) Promote and provide facilities for youths to learn and develop shooting and archery skills.

h) FWC and sportsmen’s groups should issue press releases drawing positive attention to hunters’ good deeds (cleanups; tree planting; volunteering for civic projects) so that non-hunters will be drawn to the culture.

i) Eliminate the quota system to allow for spontaneity in planning that is necessary for recruiting and retaining hunters.

j) Continue to strive to make the licensing process easier.

k) Public hunting areas should be managed to the extent to accommodate regional hunting customs and techniques.

l) Provide a user-friendly web site, “Where to Hunt� with interactive GIS-driven data delivery on Public and Private lands.

2. Increasing Access and Opportunities for Hunting on Public Land:

a) Educate agency staff and the public about impacts The Wildlands Project has already had on access to public lands, hunting traditions, and license sales, as well as its long term goals for removing all human access to and enjoyment of Florida’s lands.

b) Address public concerns that “Ecological network� as explained in FL Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy (CWCS) is another term for The Wildlands Project.

c) Inventory all state lands for existing uses and evaluate them for hunting opportunities.

d) Encourage state land managing agencies (the five Water Management Districts, DOF, and DEP) to allow FWC to conduct hunts on more of their lands.

e) Simplify regulations and the process for obtaining licenses and quotas.

f) Eliminate or dramatically increase quotas.

g) As the “Purpose� of a land acquisition determines the level of recreational use it receives, reauthorize an improved FL Forever land acquisition program that clearly defines multi-use recreation including hunting and fishing and passive ORV access as a purpose of public land acquisition. (“No plan; no land.�)

h) Prevent transfer of any more state or Water Management District lands and waters to the federal government, and do not enter into cooperative state/federal agreements that have strings attached that will reduce or restrict access and multi-use recreation, including hunting, fishing, and vehicular access.

i) Seek official definition of:

a. “Incompatible recreation�
b. “Recreation consistent with the purpose of the acquisition�
c. “Access� (See recommended language below.)

j) Area to be hunted must be readily accessibly by ordinary vehicles for walk in areas and still hunt areas (e.g. parking within ½ to 1 mile of hunt area. More remote areas must be designated for passive ORV access by well-defined routes providing access to within easy walking range to the entire land unit.

k) Areas to be hunted must be accessible by age and disability impacted hunters.

l) Areas to be hunted must be open for scouting and other off-season activities.

m) Public hunting areas should be managed to accommodate regional hunting customs and techniques.

n) Set up a working group of public and private land managers and sportsmen to determine what has been done successfully in other states to increase access and opportunities on public lands.

3. Increasing Access and Opportunities for Hunting on Private Lands

a) Mitigation banks should include multi-use recreation, including hunting.

b) Explore the possibility of mitigation banks being managed by contiguous landowners as extensions of existing hunting leases.

c) Less than fee conservation easements which include public hunting have a greater public value than non-hunting conservation easements, and should be compensated at a higher value.

d) Agricultural activities should be timed so as not to conflict with prime hunting dates.

e) Set up a working group of public and private land managers and sportsmen to determine what has been done successfully in other states to increase access and opportunities on private lands.

4. Strengthen the Foundations of Ethics and Conservation

a) The term “ethics� applies to social/curtsey issues as well as illegal acts; these distinctions must be clearly defined if “ethics� is to be effectively addressed.

b) Unreasonable regulations and over concentration of access generates resentment and creates conflicts that lead to lapses in ethics.

c) Sportsmen’s organizations must educate and police their own members; peer pressure works.

d) Implement a media campaign to:

1. Improve non-hunter’s image of hunters.
2. Encourage ethical hunting practices.
3. Promote FWC’s Wildlife Alert Program.
4. Implement a litter education campaign to address trash left at access sites/landings and camping areas.
5. Assertively respond to anti-use campaigns of misinformation, and educate the public that anti-use extremist groups are targeting all human uses, not just hunting.

5. Building a Unified and Politically Strong Coalition of Hunting Organizations:

a) Build on the fact that Allied Sportsmen’s Associations of Florida is already recognized by the state and congressional sportsmen’s caucuses as the sportsmen’s political umbrella.

b) Convene an annual meeting of hunting club leaders and public and private land managers from throughout the state to meet, network, and discuss issues.

c) Establish a funding source for the Florida Legislative Congressional Caucus so that state legislators who support hunting can use the funds to attend meetings, educational forums, and field trips.

d) Support state and local candidates who will appoint pro-hunting individuals to head regional and state agencies and to serve on regional and state advisory committees.

e) Sportsmen must volunteer to serve on advisory committees to advocate hunting interests.

f) Monitor and participate in the actions of the following positions and agencies: Governor and Board of Trustees (Cabinet)

1. FL Department of Environmental Protection
2. Acquisition and Restoration Council (ARC)
3. The five Water Management Districts
4. FL Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)
5. FL Department of Forestry
6. Department of Interior (NPS/USFWS)
7. Marine Sanctuaries
8. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

July 20, 2005
Contact: Mark Trainor (850) 488-8842

Florida’s hunting community and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will be meeting in Orlando for the “2005 Summit on the Future of Hunting in Florida� on Aug. 11-13 at the Rosen Centre Hotel on International Drive.

“The summit is a major effort with the mission of bringing hunters together to plan a course of action to help ensure a brighter future for the sport of hunting in Florida,� said Bill Marvin, Florida Chapter President of the National Wild Turkey Federation and hunting summit steering committee chairman. “Trends during the past decade indicate that hunting in Florida may be facing troubled times.�

Historical trends reveal the number of hunters in Florida has declined, and the state’s landscape and population are changing rapidly in ways that are not conducive for hunting and hunters. Florida’s major hunting and conservation leaders are well aware of these challenges and have decided it is time to take action.

The summit’s aim is to:

Rally the hunting community and hunting organizations to develop and adopt a statewide initiative to help secure the future of hunting in Florida

Challenge all hunting organizations and groups to become actively involved in participating in this initiative

Enable more Floridians to enjoy the experience of hunting and become actively engaged in conservation of fish and wildlife resources

“It is clear that Florida’s hunters are extremely passionate about the traditions and heritage of hunting,� Marvin said. “The summit will help focus this passion on building a secure future for hunting and making sure hunters continue to play a major role in conserving Florida’s wildlife for future generations.�

The summit is intended to be an interactive workshop where participants are encouraged to help develop ideas and action plans and will be challenged to take an active role in preserving the future of hunting in Florida. The meeting is open to anyone who is concerned with the issue and ready for the challenge of helping come up with viable solutions.

Space is limited, and registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. Anyone interested in participating can request a registration form by e-mailing johnroth@cmcmtg.com or by writing to: Complete Meeting Concepts, Attn.: Future of Hunting Summit, 7380 Sand Lake Rd., Suite 500, Orlando, FL 32819.

There is a $50 registration fee which covers all meals during the summit, and hotel reservations can be made by calling the Rosen Centre Hotel at 1-800-204-7234. Indicate you are making a reservation for the Hunting Summit to receive a discounted room rate.

For more information on the 2005 Summit on the Future of Hunting in Florida, visit MyFWC.com/hunting/summit.
Summit to address hunting decline

With the sport suffering in Florida, major groups will meet in Orlando to discuss its future.

By JOE JULAVITS, The Times-Union

Hunting in Florida is a tradition in trouble, with an uncertain future and a past that includes a 40 percent decline in licensed hunters since 1980.

So what can be done? That's the focus of an unprecedented meeting Thursday, Aug. 11 through Saturday, Aug. 13 in Orlando.

Every facet of the hunting community -- from dog hunters to timberland owners, duck hunters to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission -- will be represented at the 2005 Summit on the Future of Hunting in Florida at the Rosen Centre Hotel.

While individual groups have tried in the past to address hunting's problems, this is the first time all parties involved in the sport will be brought together in one place.

"I'd like to see us start building more bridges across the different facets of hunting," said Nick Wiley, head of the FWC's Division of Hunting and Game Management. "This needed to be the hunting community coming together, not an FWC event.

"If we don't work together, we're all going to lose in the end."

Planning for the meeting began almost a year ago, said Bill Marvin, president of the Florida Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation and chairman of the hunting summit steering committee. Private donations and sponsorships have raised close to $70,000 for the effort.

A survey was sent out to about 3,000 of the state's hunters, asking what their major concerns were about hunting. A review of the feedback identified five major issues.

· Improving the positive image of hunting.

· Do a better job of recruiting new hunters and retaining those who already hunt.

· Provide more hunting opportunities on private and public lands.

· Build a stronger political base for hunting and unify hunting's participants.

· Increase financial support for game management.

"We're basing a lot of our breakout sessions on those five basic categories," Marvin said. "We want to identify what the concerns are, and the priorities, and whether people are willing to step up and help."

"We want to see some really good solutions developed," Wiley said. "It's harder and harder to find a place to hunt, and we're not recruiting new hunters like we used to."

The problems facing hunting, and to a lesser extent, fishing, include loss of habitat due to urbanization and cultural changes that have young people dialed into computer games instead of the outdoors.

Also, while the state's deer and turkey populations are probably as healthy as they've ever been, finding a place to hunt has become increasingly difficult, especially for those of modest means.

Possible solutions to the recruitment problem could include expanding youth programs such as offered by the NWTF (JAKES) and Ducks Unlimited (Greenwings), Marvin said.

Other possibilities are designated youth hunting days for different species, similar to the established Youth Waterfowl Day program, and a mentoring program in which a youngster could hunt without a license for a certain period of time when accompanied by an adult.

Marvin also suggested having private businesses take on more of a role in hosting required hunter education classes.

"Why can't Bass Pro Shops have a hunter ed class once a month?" he said. "We're looking at ways to make it easier for people to hunt and to have special opportunities for youth."

Large tracts of unhunted private land in the state could open up more opportunities. Marvin cited the example of Lykes Brothers' huge holdings in South Florida, where lands are leased to private citizens to hunt under specific rules. The right incentives, Marvin said, might persuade other landowners to open their property to hunting.

"Hunters [in a lease agreement] can improve the habitat that benefits all game, limit the size of the deer they take and police the land, not only for poachers but for unwanted dumping," Marvin said.

"It can be a win-win situation. A landowner can feel more comfortable being away if he knows the land is being watched by his lease-holders."

The list of invitees for the summit reads like a hunting who's who. There's the NWTF, the Safari Club, United Waterfowlers, representatives of dog-hunting and fox-hunting groups, St. Joe Co., Florida Wildlife Federation, Quality Deer Management Association, Allied Sportsmen's Associations and the Division of Forestry, to name but several.

Organizers conceived the summit after attending a similar function in Texas.

"The key for hunting to survive and thrive is we all have to work together," Wiley said. "There has to be grassroots support."

After the three-day summit concludes, a report on the findings and recommendations will be released.

"We're hoping to come out with solutions," Marvin said. "I hope this isn't a one-shot deal, that it will stimulate an annual or biannual [summit] and keep moving forward."