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In North and South Florida

‘Future of Hunting’ summits set for June

As part of an ongoing effort to better represent sportsmen and reverse the trend of declining hunter numbers in Florida, a not-for-profit group is holding a pair of public “Summits on the Future of Hunting in Florida” this month.

The “Future of Hunting in Florida, Inc.” (FHF) will hold a South Florida Summit on Saturday, June 8 at the IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame & Museum in Dania Beach and a North Florida Summit on Saturday, June 14 in Capps (near Tallahassee).

The non-profit organization was recently created to:

• Recruit/retain hunters in Florida,

• Promote and strengthen ethics and conservation,

• Increase access and opportunities for citizens and visitors to hunt on public and private lands in Florida; and,

• Build a unified, strong coalition of hunting organizations.

In August 2005 more than 200 stakeholders convened in Orlando for a two-day “Summit on the Future of Hunting in Florida.” That summit resulted in the creation of the new FHF group. “The Future of Hunting in Florida will be a strong voice for the overall hunting community in Florida,” says Bill Marvin, chairman of the FHF board and a national board member of the National Wild

Turkey Federation (NWTF).

The organization has the strong support of several key legislators and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). “The Future of Hunting in Florida is the voice speaking for our hunting community to ensure that our children and future generations continue to enjoy quality hunting experiences in the great state of Florida. You can help protect and promote hunting in Florida by joining FHF today,” Marvin says.

The “2008 South Florida Summit” will be held Saturday, June 7 at the IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame & Museum, 300 Gulf Stream Way in Dania Beach. Registration is $30 and will include a continental breakfast, lunch and refreshments during the two breaks. On-site registration will begin at 8 a.m. and the meeting will last from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The “North Florida Summit” is set for the following Saturday, June 14 at the Beau Turner Youth Conservation Center in Capps, Florida. The facility is located on U.S. 19 approximately 1/2 mile north of U.S. 27 in Capps. Registration is $20, which will also include breakfast, lunch and refreshments during two breaks. Registration begins at 8 a.m. and the meeting will last from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Marvin will provide the welcoming remarks, introductions and an update on issues that have occurred since the 2005 summit in Orlando. Frank Montalbano, III will provide an overview of a draft “Strategic Plan” on “The Future of Hunting in Florida,” and give those in attendance a chance to give input and suggestions. Don Coyner will provide an update on the FWC’s Florida Quota Hunt Workgroup’s revised draft findings and recommendations. Other issues to be discussed include:

• Management of state lands and expanding public hunting opportunities,

• Presentation of information from the House Committee on Conservation & State Lands as well as an Florida legislative update,

• A legislative update on “Florida Forever” and a report on the status of public hunting lands,

• Expanding hunting opportunities for youth and an update on the “Archery in the Schools” program,

• An update on the Florida Youth Hunt Program (including a special 3-day youth season for turkey, deer, hog, dove and small game), a proposed special week of hunts for youth and mentors on wildlife management areas (WMAs) and a proposal to help control hogs on public land through the use of youth hunts.

The FHF’s Steering Team/Board of Directors is comprised of state leaders from various organizations, including: Marvin (NWTF), Vice-Chair Daphne Wood (U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance), Treasurer Jeff Allen (Delta Waterfowl), Secretary Lane Stephens (Allied Sportsmen’s Association of Florida), Rob Barton (Florida Wildlife Federation), Newton Cook (United Waterfowlers of Florida), Barbara Jean Powell (Everglades Coordinating Council), Preston Robertson (Florida Wildlife Federation) and Steve Shea (St. Joe Company). Representatives also include members of the Masters of Foxhounds Association of America and Safari Club International.

For more information about FHF, email: [email protected] or contact John Fuller at (850) 509-4099.