Q&A with Joe Pecsi
Get to know the California State Chapter president
Joe Pecsi, state chapter president
Turkey Country: How did you get involved with the NWTF?
Joe Pecsi: I saw an advertisement in the local paper and heard on the radio about a meeting to establish a local chapter. I’d never heard of the NWTF until that meeting. I volunteered to help with the first banquet. A couple of years later a friend suggested I volunteer for the California State Board. In 2006, I attended two state chapter board meetings and was elected a director. At the next meeting, I was appointed secretary.
TC: How long have you been California State Chapter president?
JP: I was elected for a two-year term in 2009 and again in 2013.
TC: What are some of the challenges the NWTF faces in California?
JP: Our right to hunt and bear arms is under attack. Recent legislation took away our ability to hunt bears with dogs and within the next five years, it will eliminate the use of all lead ammunition for hunting. Hunting license sales have fallen drastically over the last 10 years. Less than one percent of California’s population has a hunting license. Gun laws are more restrictive with little regard to our Second Amendment rights. The California State Chapter formed a partnership with the California Pistol and Rifle Association to help defend our hunting heritage.
We also continue to struggle with maintaining a healthy corps of NWTF regional directors. We typically lose them to other businesses within a year or two, so there is little consistency with chapter development and long-term relationships with local chapter leaders. We have been trying to hire a regional biologist for the past three years.
It is a challenge to recruit members and volunteers, as well as maintain habitat and access to public lands.
TC: Why is it important that people, particularly people in the western United States, get involved with the NWTF?
JP: Without motivated members and volunteers the NWTF will not succeed. Local chapter volunteers drive the mission of the NWTF.
TC: Tell us why you are active with the NWTF.
JP: I believe in the NWTF’s mission and the Save the Habitat, Save the Hunt. initiative. I’m passionate about protecting our hunting heritage and passing that heritage on to our youth — I recognized that in 1975 when I became a hunter education instructor for the California Department of Fish and Game. I like the fact that money raised by local chapters is available for projects and programs within the state.
TC: What are your goals for the future?
JP: The California NWTF team of volunteers, staff and partners have started the process to analyze, formulate and bring forth a plan at the state level to implement Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. My primary goal is to provide the leadership necessary for us to be successful in our endeavors.
TC: Tell us about you and your family.
JP: I retired after 33 years in law enforcement in 2008. The last five years, I was chief of police in Bishop, Calif. My wife Marcia and I celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary in June while attending the NWTF Leadership Conference. When not doing volunteer work we enjoy traveling and pursuing hunting and fishing opportunities. Our daughter Tammy, who started hunting at age 9, continues to join us as often as possible. She is a deputy sheriff.