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Georgia Receives $2,600 Grant From Hutning Heritage Partnership

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has awarded the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division (WRD) a $2,600 grant from its Hunting Heritage Partnership to help promote the sale of hunting licenses to current, lapsed and new hunters.  Announcement of the grant award was made at the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies annual meeting. A total of 18 state agencies received over $500,000 in grant awards from NSSF.

WRD will use the grant funds to remind and encourage current and new hunters to purchase a hunting license and take advantage of the Peach State's many hunting opportunities through a special mail campaign.  This program also will include efforts to ascertain the percentage of lapsed hunters and the percentage of hunter education graduates that participate in hunting.

"Thanks to NSSF, states like Georgia can seek to address the decline in hunter numbers and ensure the future of wildlife conservation in America. Our project will help determine how many hunter education graduates actually become hunters.  At the same time, we hope to identify lapsed hunters and encourage them to continue their support of wildlife conservation by once again purchasing a hunting license and go hunting," said John Bowers, WRD Senior Wildlife Biologist.

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

"Officials with Georgia's Wildlife Resources Division 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, NSSF President.

Georgia's 300,000 hunters and 1.1 million anglers spent $1.1 billion in Georgia in 2001 in pursuit of their pastime, which supports 21,000 jobs in the state. Efforts to expand hunting help boost the economy in a state where nearly one of every seven Georgia residents hunt or fish, generating over $61 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 Georgia 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 was awarded to 18 states for programs focusing on issues from recruitment and retention of hunters to increasing access to hunting lands. NSSF 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.

For more information on the grant that Georgia received, contact John W. Bowers at (770) 761-3044.

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