Tuesday, January 31st, 2023
Tuesday, January 31st, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

Umbrella group formed for outdoors caucuses

Staff Writer

Washington, D.C. A variety of Minnesota sportsmen’s causes like
this year’s mourning dove hunt likely wouldn’t have been successful
absent a group like the Minnesota Outdoor Heritage Alliance,
according to Sen. Pat Pariseau, R-Farmington.

Twenty-one states in the nation have a group like the MOHA
Legislative Caucus, of which Pariseau is co-chair. In the past,
state groups have worked independently on local issues and, in
cases like Minnesota, have been successful in getting pro-sportsmen
legislation enacted.

With the creation of a National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses
at a three-day summit in early December which generated more than
$250,000 for the NASC the once autonomous state caucuses now have a
coordinating body.

“A lot of us are facing the same things, state to state,” said
Pariseau, who was elected vice president of NASC’s executive
council at the summit, held Dec. 4-6 in Washington. “The more
sharing we can do, the better things will be.”

In 1994, Minnesota became the second state in the nation to pull
a sportsmen’s caucus together. Some other states that don’t
currently have caucuses came away from this month’s summit planning
to form one, Pariseau said.

Having a voice at the national level will benefit Minnesota,
according to John Schroers, of MOHA. It will give Minnesota a word
in getting funds back to the state for things like CREP and the
Farm Bill, Schroers said.

Schroers provided another example: If farmers in other states
with lots of CRP are haying during periods of non-drought, that
affects Minnesota’s brood stock of birds. So Minnesota could work
with that state through the NASC.

“We could try to deal with it on a local level, but perhaps we
need to deal with it on a national level,” Schroers said.

Pariseau hopes states like North and South Dakota, which don’t
have sportsmen’s caucuses, will form one now. “I’m hoping there’s a
groundswell of interest,” she said.

One of the main focuses of the NASC will be to assist states in
forming sportsmen’s caucuses. In addition, the NASC will allow new
and existing sportsmen’s caucuses to share their experiences
working on sportsmen’s issues.

“Concerns in different states are quite the same,” Pariseau
said.

Likewise, sportsmen’s caucuses could work together to mend
fences or work out differences. Though neither North or South
Dakota has a sportsmen’s caucus, if they created them, Pariseau
envisions them working together on hunter access issues, the basis
of Minnesota’s lawsuit against North Dakota.

“That might be something that a local-based group in North
Dakota and Minnesota and South Dakota could work on and not be
top-down, but bottom-up,” Pariseau said. “That’s what this caucus
is about.”

The NASC will have an annual conference, and the executive
council will meet one additional time per year. When the executive
council needs to take action, it will do so via conference calls,
Pariseau said.

The formation of the NASC is particularly important for
sportsmen, given the recent merger of the Humane Society of the
United States and The Fund for Animals, Schroers said.

“They have a ton of money, and we don’t have a ton of money,”
Schroers said. “At least we will have our eyes wide open and have a
unified voice.”

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