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State receives $50K grant to promote hunting program

Friday, July 30, 2004

California has received a $50,000 National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) grant to help expand and enhance hunting opport-unities.

The California Depart-ment of Fish and Game received the grant for the new Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhance-ment (SHARE) program.

The program is designed to increase public hunting opportunities throughout California, recruit and retain hunters, promote habitat conservation, and foster cooperation between the agency, landowners, sportsmen, and conserv-ation groups.

SHARE was created by Assembly Bill 396, which was co-sponsored by the California Waterfowl Assoc-iation (CWA), California Cattlemen's Association (CCA) and California Farm Bureau Federation (CFBF) during the 2003 California State Legislative session.

Assemblyman Tom Harman (R-Huntington Beach), an avid hunter and outdoorsman, authored the legislation.

“The California Waterfowl Association is truly excited about working with our department of fish and game to make the SHARE program a great success in our state,” said Bill Gaines, CWA's director of government affairs. “Liability and other landowner concerns have resulted in more and more of California's wildlife habitat being hidden behind 'no trespassing' signs. The increasing shortage of hunting opportunity in our state has reduced hunting license sales to a mere fraction of what they were only a few short years ago.

With the help of this generous NSSF grant, we can begin to reverse this trend by opening up thousands of acres of prime hunting land for sportsmen and women to partake in our hunting tradition.”

“We were pleased to have co-sponsored AB396, that establishes the SHARE Program,” said Kevin Kester, chair of the CCA Wildlife Management Committee. “The California Cattlemen’s Association is very supportive of opportunities for private property owners to voluntarily participate in programs that provide benefits to the public, to the wildlife, and to the producer’s bottom line. We are excited to work with the interested parties in developing the SHARE program and are very appreciative to the National Shooting Sports Foundation for their generous award.”

“California Farm Bureau Federation is hopeful that with the passage of AB396 the generous grant from NSSF can help us to develop a program that allows private landowners to share with hunters, fishermen and others, the bounty of natural resources they steward on their property,” said Pam Giacomini, CFBF’s director of natural resources and commodities.

The grant was made through NSSF's Hunting Heritage Partnership program.

According to the latest U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s survey of fishing, hunting and wildlife-related recreation, approximately 13 million hunters are licensed and active today across the country.

That's a million fewer than a decade ago, yet America continues to depend on hunters as the primary funding source for most wildlife and habitat conservation programs.

The Hunting Heritage Partnership was established by NSSF, the trade association for the firearm industry, to help state wildlife agencies enhance opportunities for hunting, thus positively affecting conservation for the future.

Approximately $1 million in grants has been distributed over the past two years.

“Our partners in the recipient states have designed unique and dynamic recruitment tools that will help carry on America's hunting legacy and the conservation funding that relies on it. These are exactly the kind of creative program development concepts that agencies in other states can look to as models to help preserve our hunting and conservation traditions,” said Doug Painter, president of NSSF.

This year, a total of 13 state agencies received over $474,948 in grant awards from NSSF. Applications from 27 states were considered.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation was formed in 1961, is a non-profit trade association. NSSF directs a variety of outreach programs to promote greater participation and a better understanding of shooting sports, emphasizing on safe and responsible ownership of firearms.

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