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Targeting the Future

Texas hosts this year’s premiere symposium on hunting heritage.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department hosts the 7th Governor’s Symposium on North America’s Hunting Heritage this year, to be held in Houston Dec. 3-6. The conference is expected to draw 600 participants from across the United States, Mexico and Canada to work on the symposium’s theme: “taking action to secure the future of hunting in North America.”

This year’s symposium will focus on the recruitment and retention of hunters, with the goal of finding efficient, action-oriented programs that government wildlife agencies and hunting organizations can implement. The number of hunters has declined in recent years for several reasons; a further decline in hunting participation could be devastating for wildlife conservation, because hunters do so much economically and socially to maintain and improve wildlife habitat.

TPWD executive director Robert L. Cook will speak on the history of wildlife conservation in Texas. Other topics include the financial impact of hunting, hunting and landowners, hunting ethics and the media and hunting. Steve Williams, director of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Doug Painter of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Rollin Sparrowe of the Wildlife Management Institute, Don Young of Ducks Unlimited, Inc. and Rob Keck of the National Wild Turkey Federation will also speak.

The Governor’s Symposium on North America’s Hunting Heritage was first held in 1992 and attendance has been growing steadily. At the 2000 symposium in Ottawa, Canada, participants proposed an accord on hunting that established the following shared facts and beliefs. Hunting is a sustainable activity with deep cultural and social roots and tremendous economic impact. The hunting community and government agencies have created hunter safety and education programs that have made hunting safer than most other outdoor activities. Hunting has generated billions of dollars that support habitat conservation and enhancement that benefits all wildlife, including game animals. The hunting community is dedicated to using science-based information to manage wildlife populations and habitat. It works to articulate and teach ethical principles of hunting and to develop good relations between hunting groups and government agencies that regulate hunting and work for wildlife conservation.

A reception on Wednesday evening, Dec. 3, launches three days of seminars, culminating with a banquet Saturday evening. Hunters and members of hunting organizations are encouraged to attend. Registration for the three-day event is $300 ($265 before Sept. 30), which includes attendance at all meetings, the opening and closing banquets, exhibits, displays, meals and transportation to a participatory shooting event. For registration information, visit <www.tpwd.state.tx.us/hunt/heritage>.

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