As you prepare for the upcoming February Commission Meeting, I wanted to take a moment and again submit the attached sign-on for your consideration regarding the Draft Rule Proposal for Restricted Hunting Areas.
This is an opportunity for us to take steps to ensure a stronger future for public water waterfowling. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the extraordinary contributions waterfowl stamps have made and continue to make to public lands across our country.
Personally, I only hunt public, non-quota waterfowl areas. I run programs for recruiting new hunters, programs for non-hunters, programs for teachers – all aimed at understanding how hunting fits into conservation and why it matters so much. This duck season I was on the water bodies in question in this rule nearly 100 days, between scouting and hunts and tours.
You will hear some “split” conversation around this draft rule from the hunting community at large; that said, you will not hear a split perspective from those who pursue public land waterfowl as a regular passion. This is about the dads going to the local lake on a Saturday morning with his kids in tow, hoping to down a wood duck. It’s about the father and daughter more concerned with honey buns on Tampa Bay than the divers they hope mistakenly wander into their decoys. It’s about the ease of entry and understanding to a sport that’s already complex to navigate in regulations, equipment, and community. It’s about the future of public water ducks in Florida. It’s about conservation, and hunting, and it’s nexus with development, and where that falls on the doctrine of Public Trust.
While our letter is strong, and representative of millions of stakeholders, we will not berate you on this issue at the meetings. We will speak concisely and, hopefully, succinctly to the reasons this rule should be revisited with a directional component added. We are firm in our resolve, as this is a topic that will both directly and indirectly shape waterfowling in our state.
I have offered my e-mail address and phone number to each of you . . . I would be respectful of your time if you were willing to have a conversation about this topic beyond the 3 minutes governed by Covid and Zoom . . . This is a nuanced issue, the felt effects of which will unfold over years, a butterfly flap if you will, that I’d hope would allow for some of the same conversations as those that take place around water quality, and pythons, and snook regulations.
Thank you for your service to our state, and for your time,
Attachment: Dear FWC Commission Signatures added-attach