THE STORY OF The League of Kentucky Sportsmen Inc.
We consider the League “the lay arm” of The Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources. We work hand in hand with them for the upgrading of The Department and exert every pressure and individual influence, as interested private citizens, to deter any legislation which we consider to be detrimental to The Department or the organized sportsmen’s programs. Conversely, we put The Department on notice, and use our influence, to correct any inefficiencies we may detect in The Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources. This kind of cooperation, the department with the League and the League with The Department has been a most compatible relationship and has been, we think, the greatest and largest single contribution to the sportsmen of Kentucky.
In the early part of 1935 a few far sighted sportsmen conceived the idea that there was a great need for one strong state wide sportsmen’s organization with which all the sportsmen’s clubs could affiliate. By coordinating ideas, efforts and strength it was believed that our natural resources could be better preserved, thereby leading to a more sound conservation policy and program which would benefit all Kentucky citizens. It was believed that by working with the Division of Game & Fish that a more business like administration could be achieved and enable the state to take its rightful place among the leading fishing and hunting states of our country. This organization was named The League of Kentucky Sportsmen.
From that day forward the League of Kentucky Sportsmen grew, each year gaining in numerical strength and respect from all people concerned with conservation of wildlife and natural resources. The League was instrumental in upgrading Kentucky from near the bottom of the forty eight states to a ranking in the top ten.
This has been accomplished by the unselfish efforts of dozens of dedicated persons devoting time and effort for the benefit of all citizens. It should be noted here that all of these dedicated people are still interested and continue to make every effort to further the cause of broad conservation of all of our Commonwealth’s natural resources. It may well be said that once a Kentuckian has the conservation fever he never recovers.
The officers are as follows: President: Vice President; one (1) Director from each of nine (9) Wildlife Districts; a Secretary and a Treasurer. The Directors are elected in their home Districts by members of Clubs affiliated with The League of Kentucky Sportsmen Inc. The Vice President is one of the Directors and is elected to this office by other Directors. The Secretary-Treasurer is appointed by the President with the approval of the Board of Directors. He is the only salaried employee of the organization.
However, expenses are paid all officials to the quarterly meeting of the Board and to the Annual Convention. He is also authorized to visit clubs in his District for which expenses for mileage are paid. The immediate Past President becomes a member of the Board of Directors upon departure from office and remains on the Board for the duration of his successor.
Various committees are appointed by the President, the names for which are supplied by the Directors of each District. These Committees are set out in the By-Laws so there is some semblance of continuity with the change of administrations.
Our Wildlife Districts are numbered one thru nine. The Directors of even numbered Districts are elected in even numbered years for a period of two (2) years. The Directors of the odd numbered Districts are elected in odd numbered years for a period of two years. The President is elected at the Annual Convention for a period of one (1) year with a limit of three (3) terms.
Membership in The League of Kentucky Sportsmen is offered to organizations dedicated to promote conservation of fish, wildlife and natural resources in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and to further promote sportsmanship and to associate sportsmen together for their common good. Bonafide clubs consist of a minimum of twenty-five (25) members which entitles this club to two (2) voting delegates at the annual convention. No club regardless of size, can have more than two (2) delegates vote in the annual election.
Over the history of our organization, founded in 1935, we have achieved much in our effort to represent all of the sportsmen of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
One of the most important of these many accomplishments is no less than the manner in which our commissioners of The Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources are selected. Our organization proposed, prepared and presented the legislation to The General Assembly for their concurrence. This was achieved in 1944. Since that time, we, through our affiliated District Federation, nominate five men, one of whom is selected from this list, who will represent the sportsmen of his District on the Fish & Wildlife Commission. These names are submitted to the Governor who selects the person he desires from the list of nominees presented to him. This Commission is non-partisan and can, at no time, be governed by more than five of the total membership of nine of either major political party. By this method of selection, we feel the people of the Commission represents the sportsmen, of which he is one, and the wishes of some 40,000 members of The League of Kentucky Sportsmen Inc., the only organized sportsmen’s group, at the State level, in Kentucky. A further bonus, this Commission, because it has come from The League, finds its policies better accepted by the sportsmen of Kentucky. The terms of the Commissioners are four (4) years and are so arranged that the Governor appoints one in each of the nine Wildlife Districts during his four (4) year term in office.
As you see by the above, the sportsmen and The League of Kentucky Sportsmen Inc. have a responsibility of nominating five competent men. Men of both major political faiths must be nominated because the Governor may select any person from the list submitted, bearing in mind the restrictive balance of political faiths, numerically. The League’s and the sportsmen’s responsibility is to be certain all five (5) nominees will be acceptable to the majority in their District. By this method of selection everyone shares the responsibility. The League and Sportsmen to the Governor and the Governor to The League and the sportsmen by his selection of the Commissioner who, in turn, has a responsibility to all. This responsibility lies with the Governor, The League and all sportsmen in the District and in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.