Hunters and anglers have faced numerous federally imposed restrictions in recent years. New legislation in Congress, to be put on a fast track in the U.S. House of Representatives, tackles some of the worst restrictions on our sporting heritage.
The newly introduced H.R. 4089—strongly supported by the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance – is a package of four high-priority bills (Titles I-IV below) to protect and enhance hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting, especially on public lands. The new bill also addresses backdoor attempts to stop hunting and fishing, plus it allows the import of legally hunted polar bear trophies now tangled in federal red-tape. Enactment of H.R. 4089 will be a win-win-win-win for all sportsmen.
Title I is the former H.R. 2834 – the Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage and Opportunities Act. The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance has been a long-time leader in the effort to pass this legislation. It mandates that National Forest and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) public lands are open, as a matter of law, to fishing, hunting, and shooting until, or unless, closed for specific purposes and on the basis of necessity and sound evidence. This title also reverses a spate of activist judicial rulings to ensure that wildlife conservation and management activities may occur on Forest and BLM lands, including areas designated as Wilderness.
Title II protects recreational shooting on BLM National Monument lands reversing recent unwarranted restrictions on this traditional activity. Growing restrictions on recreational shooting on public lands have become a major problem and this provision will fix that problem on BLM Monument lands.
Title III allows the importation from Canada of 41 polar bear trophies stuck in legal limbo. These trophies were taken before the bear was listed as an endangered species (over strong scientific objections from the hunting and conservation community) but could not be imported legally after the listing occurred. The provision enables hunters to bring home their taxidermy mounts.
Title IV confirms that the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cannot ban lead in traditional ammunition or in sport fishing gear. Anti-hunting/anti-fishing activists, such as the radical Center for Biological Diversity, have been pressing—and suing—EPA to ban traditional ammo and fishing tackle. This provision swiftly cuts these activists off at the pass.
“USSA greatly appreciates the bi-partisan work by the House Natural Resources Committee and Chairman Doc Hastings (R-WA) to forge this important new hunting/fishing/shooting bill and put it on the fast track. Let us hope that the U.S. Senate and the Obama Administration are ready to do their part in enacting promptly this vital bill,” said Bill Horn, USSA Director of Federal Affairs (and former Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior).
As H.R. 4089 begins to move in Congress, sportsmen everywhere need to voice their strong support to their Representatives.
Take Action! Every sportsman and sportswoman should immediately contact their Congressman and urge them to support this groundbreaking bill. To find your Congressman’s contact information, visit USSA’s Legislative Action Center at www.sportsmensalliance.org/LAC.
U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance
801 Kingsmill Parkway
Columbus, Ohio 43229