GHFF Gets The Job Done For Sportsmen

Daryl Kirby | July 30, 2023

If you are one of the many sportsmen who have walked through the doors of an Outdoor Blast in the past two and half decades, you probably met or at least noticed a group of men and women in hunter-orange t-shirts. They volunteered at the Kids Zone, at the venue doors, or they met folks at their booth where they sold raffle tickets and t-shirts or signed up members for their non-profit organization. They were there to help GON, but also to raise money and support.

Those orange shirts at the Outdoor Blast were worn by members of the Georgia Hunting and Fishing Federation (GHFF). I say were… because for the first time since GON started an Outdoor Blast 17 years ago, the orange shirts were not in Emerson last week for the 2023 Ag-Pro Outdoor Blast. More on why they weren’t at this year’s Outdoor Blast in a minute, but first I’d like to tell you more about the Georgia Hunting and Fishing Federation.

You know who else recognizes those hunter-orange shirts and the people who wear them? State Representatives, State Senators, key legislative staff members, DNR—not to mention the lobbyists for animal-rights groups who prowl the halls of the state capitol every year during the legislative session.

The GHFF is there doing the work to protect hunting, fishing and sportsmen—and they’ve been doing it for two decades.

That some of you who are reading this have never heard of the GHFF—or maybe even some who don’t realize that hunting, fishing and sportsmen even need protecting—tells you how good a job the GHFF does year after year at our state capitol.

I bet even fewer know about what almost happened in 2005. That’s the year some animal-rights lobbyists got in the ears of legislators and got support for a new law that focused on stopping dog fighting. Senate Bill 229, the “Animal Fighting Act,” passed the Georgia Senate by a 50 to 4 vote and moved over to the House.

Who would oppose a law to toughen penalties against dog fighting? They say the devil’s in the details, and that’s never more true than when you’re dealing with legislation. The language of SB 229 was drafted by animal rightists, including the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which longtime GON readers know is not your local animal shelter but rather the most prolific anti-hunting organization on the planet. The GHFF lobbyist read the details of SB 229 and realized the language would ban the use of dogs in hunting and field trials.

GHFF president Reggie Dickey got on the phone and rallied the Small Game Association and others to get SB 229 stopped. And they did.

But it’s what Reggie and the GHFF did next that tells the full story. They drafted a new anti-dog-fighting bill, but one that protected hunters, field trial events and pet owners. He rallied the right people to back what eventually became HB 301. It took several years and lots of hard work, but on May 6, 2008, Gov. Sonny Perdue signed HB 301 into law.

Reggie and his crew of orange shirts weren’t at the Blast this year. Not because they didn’t want to be, but with the cost of hotel rooms, meals and travel, it didn’t make sense for them to come. Goodness knows we missed them and all the heavy lifting they do in helping us put on the Outdoor Blast event. We missed them because they are friends. And I worry that members of the GON community who attend the Blast and who support the GHFF will let it slip their minds this year since they didn’t see those orange shirts—they didn’t sign up for a membership or buy a raffle ticket or a t-shirt.

Guess what Reggie mentioned when I spoke with him a few weeks ago—another dangerous dog bill. And by dangerous, he means it could impact regular people whose pets aren’t doing anything bad.

“They said they would clean it up,” Reggie said. “All our friends were on it—they’re going to clean it up.”

Thank goodness for the GHFF.

If you missed them at the Blast or just want to show them some love and support—and you should—reach out.

Their website ( is temporarily down, but you can search for Georgia Hunting and Fishing Federation on Facebook, or email Ronnie Gaskins at [email protected].

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