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Connecticut Receives $10,625 Grant From Hunting Heritage Partnership
Funds Earmarked for Junior Pheasant Hunting Days
NEWTOWN, Conn. — The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has awarded the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection a $10,625 grant from its Hunting Heritage Partnership to help provide expanded recreational hunting opportunities to Connecticut youth.

Announcement of the grant award was made at the International Association of State Fish and Wildlife Agencies annual meeting. A total of 18 state agencies received over $500,000 in grant awards from NSSF.

Connecticut will use the funds to provide pheasants to private fish and game clubs that sponsor special Junior Pheasant Hunting Days. This program, a partnership effort between the state agency and private clubs, allows young Connecticut hunters between the ages of 12 and 16 the opportunity to participate in a pheasant hunt without the pressure of other hunters and provides valuable safety training for junior licensed hunters.

"The Department is very pleased to receive a grant from the NSSF. The funds will be used to enhance current efforts to expand youth hunting opportunities in Connecticut. We are eager to begin working with youth programs later this year," stated Ed Parker, chief, Bureau of Natural Resources.

The Hunting Heritage Partnership was established by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the firearm industry, to provide much needed direct funding to state wildlife agencies to help them with programs that provide opportunities for, and remove barriers to, hunter participation.

“Officials with Connecticut's Department of Environmental Protection have designed a unique and dynamic recruitment tool and this grant recognizes their successful efforts and helps build on them. This is exactly the kind of creative program development that agencies in other states can look to as a model to help preserve our hunting and conservation traditions,” said Doug Painter, president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

Connecticut's 346,000 anglers and 45,000 hunters spent $275 million in Connecticut in 2001 in pursuit of their pastime which supported 4,000 jobs in the state. Efforts to expand hunting, such as the Junior Pheasant Hunting Days, help boost the economy in a state where more residents hunt or fish, than belong to labor unions and generate over $20 million in state tax revenue.

"When more hunters go afield, everyone benefits. The contributions hunters and anglers make in dedicated, unique taxes paid and the fees collected fund conservation efforts for all Connecticut residents to enjoy," said Steve Williams, director, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Applications from 36 states were submitted to the Hunting Heritage Partnership and over $500,000 in grants were awarded to 18 states for programs focusing on issues from recruitment and retention of hunters to increasing access to hunting lands. The National Shooting Sports Foundation is working with the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation and members of Congress on behalf of America's 18 million hunters to provide states with additional funding opportunities through the Hunting Heritage Partnership.

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