Virginia's Operation Respect

RESPECT stands for Responsible Educated Sportsmen Promoting Ethical Conduct Together. Operation RESPECT is a cooperative program to combat unethical sportsman conduct in Virginia and offset the negative publicity generated by the antihunting advocates. It was founded in 1979 by joint agreement of the Virginia Division of the Izaak Walton League of America, the Virginia Wildlife Federation and the Virginia Commission ofGame and Inland Fisheries. General support for the program was achieved in September 1979 at a sportsmans leaders conference. Thirteen planning strategies employed to generate momentum for the program are outlined. The Operation RESPECT Council developed after the conference. In contrast to similar programs in other states, the Council of sportsman leaders sets policy and gives direction to programs. The Education Division of the Virginia Commission and the Wildlife Extension Program of Virginia Cooperative Extension assist in educational program development and administration. Virginia's cooperative approach aims to overcome unethical sportsman conduct and anti-hunting campaigns by generating good publicity for sportsmen, strengthening more stringent enforcement of laws and regulations, and encouraging enactment of new laws to curb unacceptable sportsman hehavior. The Operation RESPECT Council and the Commission are working together to greatly expand the number and effectiveness of volunteer hunter education instructors through implementation of a County Coordinator for Operation RESPECT Prog,·am. Challenges posed hy l'itizen leade"ship with ag.>ncy and university professionals in suppOl·ting I'oles al'e discuss!'.!.

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