US Sportsmen’s Alliance Going Big In CA?

March 18, 2014

A couple of weeks ago, the US Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA) announced that they were opening a West Coast office in Sacramento. The USSA is an organization devoted to protecting hunting and fishing, and they’ve grown a lot since I first got involved with them several years ago.  Most of their activity has been focused back east, and there’s been plenty for them to focus on, but this expansion promises (I hope) to bring some organizational strength and coordination to west coast sportsmen… particulary in California.

It sounds like they’re off to a good start.

California Sportsmen’s Coalition Formed

The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA) is excited to announce the formation of the Al Taucher Conservation Coalition (ATCC) developed to educate and inform California citizens on conservation issues. Coalition members comprise the leading conservation organizations in California whose collective memberships contribute more than $3.7 billion to the state’s economy.

“Members of this coalition represent the leading conservation groups throughout the state,” said Michael Flores, a former California Fish and Game Commissioner who is leading the USSA’s Western U.S. office in Sacramento. “I am happy that USSA’s newly formed west coast operation will provide a proactive platform for the ATCC to succeed.”

Al Taucher was a California Fish and Game Commissioner who wanted to protect California’s natural resources and preserve hunting and fishing opportunities by forming a committee of sportsmen and women who would provide policy input to the Fish and Game Commission. However, recent legislation directed the Commission, along with the Department of Fish and Wildlife, to implement the Wildlife Resources Committee (WRC). The WRC now includes groups whose sole purpose is to abolish hunting and fishing in California.

“We feel that too often now there is not enough balance in the discussions concerning wildlife and the best conservation practices,” said John Carlson Jr., president of the California Waterfowl Association. “We welcome USSA’s formation of a united coalition through the ATCC.”

Other coalition members echo that sentiment.

“It is next to impossible to work on issues important to my constituents when groups opposed to my very existence sit across the table from me,” said Jerry Springer, president of the California Deer Association.

ATCC coalition members include: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, California Waterfowl Association, Trout Unlimited, California Deer Association, California Houndsmen for Conservation, California Rifle and Pistol Association, National Wild Turkey Federation, Wilderness Unlimited, The Sportfishing Conservancy, Mule Deer Foundation, California Coalition of Diving Advocates, NRA Members Council, The Hunt for Truth Association, California Bowhunters Association, California Farm Bureau, National Open Field Coursing Association, Quail Forever and Pheasants Forever.

The ATCC will meet monthly and embark on an effort to educate the state’s policy makers and engage its members. It will form an executive committee with the ability to respond rapidly to the day’s issues. In addition the ATCC will work closely with USSA and its staff in helping create and keep a united coalition.

“Recreational fishermen and hunters are the original conservationists and it is critical that these responsible voices for the outdoors be heard,” said Tom Raftigan, president of the Sportfishing Conservancy. “I welcome USSA to California and the formation of the ATCC.”


About the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance: U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA) provides direct lobbying and grassroots coalition building to support, protect and advance the rights of hunters, trappers, anglers and scientific wildlife management professionals. The USSA is the only organization exclusively devoted to combating the attacks made on America’s sportsman traditions by anti-hunting and animal rights extremists. USSA is a national organization which recently announced the opening of a Western U.S. office in Sacramento. USSA is a 501(c)4 organization. Stay connected to USSA: Online, Facebook and Twitter.





9 Responses to “US Sportsmen’s Alliance Going Big In CA?”

  1. Joshua Stark on March 18th, 2014 16:04

    Like I posted in the Facebook comments a couple of weeks ago, these folks need to do some serious outreach into various and disparate, politically connected communities. There is a great opportunity right now to expand the popularity of hunting and fishing in California, if only folks like these would take the time to do real, honest outreach into communities that this sector of advocacy has traditionally avoided.

    I was singularly unimpressed with their ad on Facebook (two armed and camouflaged old white dudes with their backs turned, apparently off to fight the good fight in California). I’m not a whole heck of a lot more impressed with this “coalition” they’ve put together — those are the same people, the same communities.

    If you have any contacts, Phillip, please have them contact me. This group they’ve put together may get a little bit, but they are hard-pressed and generally lacking capacity. They need new energy, and that takes the courage to give new people with new voices some honest-to-goodness buy-in from the start.

  2. Phillip on March 18th, 2014 20:54

    Josh, here’s the thing. I’m also concerned that USSA will simply become another mockingbird, singing the same song and dancing the same dance.

    But the fact is, it’s up to folks like you, and other CA hunters and fishermen, to make this organization what YOU need it to be. Everything you say in that last paragraph is absolutely true. But the thing is, they’re not going to do it for you. If CA hunters want to sit back and let some organization come in and “represent” them, then they get what you paid for.

    USSA is about enabling grassroots. It’s what they’re best at. But grass doesn’t grow very well from rocks. Don’t get on your high horse and throw stones. Rather than criticize, get on the phone. Don’t just join up, but get involved. The contact info is right there. And then get in there and do something.

  3. Joshua Stark on March 18th, 2014 22:11

    I wish I had a high horse, Phillip.

    I do my part in the capitol building — I don’t feel the need to list my bona fides here. But outreach is outreach — eg., if nobody from this organization is willing to reach out to me, even when I make public statements asking to be reached out to, then they don’t get my support.

    This is my point: you can’t make peace with your friend. They need to be beating the bushes looking to bring new people in to understand, love and support hunting. Grassroots movements aren’t just about getting the people who already understand; it is about talking to and listening to many different communities, and then providing them with the education and services they need to motivate them to support the cause.

  4. robb on March 19th, 2014 09:04

    I wish they had an office and were making similar efforts in my state. In looking at the list of the top of my head I’d think that’s many of the major hunting orgs in the US.

    If it were my state I’d go down to their office and say hi, see if they need someone to do maybe a couple hours volunteer work, see about getting on some sort of mailing list. It doesn’t take that many committed people to be effective.

  5. Phillip on March 19th, 2014 16:37

    Robb, what state are you in? It seems like the bulk of their work to date has focused on the mid-Atlantic and northeastern states, but I know they were involved with projects in the mid-west too.

  6. Phillip on March 19th, 2014 09:21

    And this is my point, Josh.

    You can’t make change in any organization by pointing out their perceived flaws to me.

    Spelling it out on this blog, or on Facebook doesn’t make a difference. Getting involved makes a difference.

    I’m not an official spokesman for USSA. I’m just a blogger who knows a little bit about these guys from past involvement in their organization. I shared this press release and the previous Facebook link because I think the USSA is a good organization with potential to be a positive force for hunters and fishermen. That’s the role I’ve chosen to play.

    The contact information for USSA is in the message. Use it or don’t.

  7. Joshua Stark on March 19th, 2014 20:29

    BHA reached out to me based on my comment, Phillip. That’s what I mean about outreach — the words are literally reaching out.

    By the way, I inferred from your first paragraph that you had an ongoing working relationship with them. I don’t think it was too far-fetched an inference; thanks for the clarification.

  8. robb on March 20th, 2014 21:27

    CO, so far we’ve lost trapping, no hounds for bears, and the spring bear hunt. I worry about how we are going to manage wolves when they get here, trappings seems to work best. Back Country has been good lobbying against drones and stuff but there doesn’t seem to be anyone actually coordinating efforts on behalf of general hunting issues.

  9. Phillip on March 21st, 2014 15:30

    Robb, those are exactly the kinds of things USSA was involved with back east, especially up in Maine where the bear hunt is under all kinds of attack. I guess the only thing I could suggest would be reaching out and seeing what they can offer in the way of resources to get your own thing going.

    Way back when the CA lead ammo thing first came up, I tried to get USSA involved. Unfortunately, they just didn’t have the scope to come to CA and get involved then, as they had limited resources. They’ve grown a lot since then, so who knows… maybe CO will be a good, next base for them.