Sportsmen and women in South Carolina now have a stronger voice when it comes to protecting our hunting traditions, as the Palmetto State became the latest to form a Sportsman's Caucus.

South Carolina has more than 1 million hunters and anglers who spend over $1 billion annually pursuing outdoor activities.

Since the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation was founded 15 years ago, sportsmen and women across the nation have relied on the organization and its partners to fight attacks on our hunting and fishing traditions on the national level.

In the past couple of years, the CSF has expanded its successful model to state-level legislatures, forming and strengthening state caucuses and creating the National Assembly of Sportsmen's Caucuses (NASC) to help fight against groups with an anti-hunting agenda and to support pro-hunting measures.

In 2005, the National Wild Turkey Federation, along with its chapters, donated $135,000 to help the NASC, a division of the CSF, form new caucuses and enhance communication and coordination among existing state caucuses. The individual state legislative sportsmen's caucuses will remain independent and autonomous, with the NASC serving as an umbrella organization to facilitate information and idea exchange, creating a more unified front.

"I am hard pressed to think of any idea or action that has greater potential to protect the interests of our sportsmen and to further a pro-conservation agenda than the formation of state sportsmen's caucuses in legislatures across our nation," said Rob Keck, CEO of the NWTF.

State level hunting and fishing issues have never been more important. In 2005, more than 2,900 bills impacting hunting and fishing were introduced in state legislatures. By localizing efforts to defend hunting, fishing and conservation, the NASC can reach more than 7,000 members of these legislatures.

"The Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation and NASC believe that the creation of state sportsmen's caucuses will provide sportsmen with an identifiable group of allies in state legislatures across the country," said Jeff Crane, president of the CSF. "It is only through the support of groups like the National Wild Turkey Federation that we will be able to reach our goal of 50 unified sportsmen's caucuses."

For more information about the NWTF or how to get involved in your state, call (800) THE-NWTF.