If this is the wrong place, admin please move to correct loc. to Kentucky Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers "In an effort to bring light to issues going on across Kentucky that impact all sportsmen and women and increase the engagement process between the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR) and the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission, we wanted to reach out to you to bring to your attention several issues we have been following. Earlier this year, the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission took the unprecedented step of selecting a sitting commissioner to become the next head of KDFWR. The facts showed that this individual interviewed all the original applicants for the position, then only after all the applicants were turned down, submitted his own application. The Department did not re-advertise for the position and simply accepted only his application. His selection came right after the KDFWR failed their audit and Kentucky State Auditor called for a “change in culture” at the agency. During the Government Contract Review Committee in the Kentucky Legislature, the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Stephen Meredith, said, “…it wasn’t reassuring when they (KDFWR Leadership) began their answer by saying, “We know this looks bad, but…” Another member of the Committee, Senator Paul Hornback, went on record saying, “The task of trying to clean up Fish and Wildlife is going to be 10 times greater because they’ve lost credibility up front.” Following this, the President of the Kentuckiana Chapter of Safari Club International (KY-SCI), Larry Richards, charged stated, “It’s time we live up to our motto and be First for Hunters in Kentucky.” KY-SCI has formed a new Legislative Affairs Committee and gave that committee the mission to, “Bring the corruption at the KDFWR and the Fish and Wildlife Commission out into the sterilizing light of day.” We believe many of the issues are the result of years of systemic failures at the executive level of the KDFWR. Moreover, the failures are also directly attributable to the overreach of the Kentucky Tourism Arts and Heritage Cabinet in their continued campaign to gain control of the KDFWR and its assets. The Kentuckiana Chapter has been working hard on the following issues: Prioritizing Elk Tourism Over Sportsmen and Women The Wildlife Management Area (WMA) where the first elk were hunted in Kentucky over 21 years ago, the Paul VanBooven Wildlife Management Area, was closed off to elk hunting in favor of elk viewing. Also, the Department recently trapped and moved wild elk to private property owned by a private entity. According to KRS 150.023, we believe the Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife must have the Fish and Wildlife Commission’s approval to execute such an action. However, a very senior member of that Commission claims to have had nothing to do with it. Furthermore, the private entity that received the wild elk has direct ties to KDFWR in an apparent conflict of interest to the agency’s mission to “conserve and enhance fish and wildlife resources and provide opportunity for hunting, fishing, trapping, boating and other wildlife related activities.” Special Commission Permits Kentucky law KRS 150.177 allows the Fish and Wildlife Commission to award up to ten special commission permits for a bull elk, a whitetail buck, a tom turkey and waterfowl to, “an incorporated nonprofit wildlife conservation organization .”These organizations may “sell and transfer the permit if all proceeds of the sale are used in Kentucky for wildlife management.” Recent open records requests have revealed many years of apparent violations of the statute by allowing certain organizations that are not dedicated “wildlife conservation organizations” to obtain permits at the exclusion of other worthy organizations. Further, these same organizations appear to routinely fail to use the proceeds for, “wildlife management” as required by statute. House Bill 278 Representative Tommy Turner, chair of the House Tourism and Outdoor Recreation Committee, sponsored HB278. That legislation sought to redefine Wildlife Management Areas, owned by KDFWR to, "Tourism Attraction Projects." The bill stated, all lands, “Owned by the Commonwealth, or leased by the Commonwealth from the federal government,” would become “Tourism Attraction Projects”. This would have allowed the Tourism Cabinet to use lands bought and managed using sportsmen and women dollars for the purposes of tourism, instead of wildlife management. Ultimately this legislation failed to advance during this legislative session but we believe it will be reintroduced in 2020. To stay informed and make your voice heard about issues going on across Kentucky and to help reduce the influence of politicians and to restore the preeminence of sportsmen and women in Kentucky, visit the Kentuckiana Chapter of Safari Club International’s Legislative Affairs Website."