Whether it’s floating on the Buffalo River or hunting down in Stuttgart, to me nothing beats spending time in the Arkansas outdoors. Most recently, the highlight of my July 4th weekend was spending time with my dad in Lonoke to do some fishing. For generations now, Arkansas families like mine have fished, hunted, and enjoyed the outdoors. This isn’t just a way of life in our state. It’s a major driver of our economy. In fact, sportsmen in Arkansas generate nearly $1.6 billion in economic activity annually and support over 25,000 jobs.
That’s why I’m working hard to protect this tradition, and support the Arkansas businesses and families who depend on the sportsmen industry for their livelihood. As a member of the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission, I’ve helped preserve critical habitats—from the Refuges at Cache River to the White River—and allocated conservation funds to protect breeding grounds of our migratory waterfowl.
This week, I supported the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2014, a zero-cost bill to increase Arkansans’ access to recreational hunting and fishing, support habitat conservation in our state, and protect our hunting and fishing rights. It also included my provision to make the online e-Duck stamp program permanent so Arkansas hunters can get their duck stamps quickly, easily, and conveniently. Unfortunately, the bill failed to receive the support it needed to move forward.
But I’m not giving up. I will continue to fight for important measures that protect and expand Arkansans’ access to hunting, fishing, and shooting; eliminate overreaching regulations on lead tackle and ammo; and protect wildlife habitat and populations for our future generations. I hope you will join me in this fight. I look forward to seeing everyone out there throwing a line or calling in the drakes.
Mark Pryor is a U.S. Senator from Arkansas. He is a Democrat.