A new package of pro-sportsmen’s bills was introduced in the U.S. Senate today that addresses the top concerns of American hunters, anglers and recreational shooters. Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski‘s Sportsmen’s Act protects hunting, fishing and recreational shooting on federal lands and slams the door on many legal loopholes through which the anti-hunting and extremist environmental lobbies attack sportsmen and women.
Among the items contained in the Sportsmen’s Act is essential “Open Until Closed” language which spells out in law that fishing, hunting and recreational shooting are legitimate and important activities. It mandates that U.S Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management properties are open to these pursuits unless specific steps are taken to close those lands for necessary, scientific reasons. This language is the top federal priority for the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance because it blocks many potential lawsuits aimed at closing public land to American sportsmen and women. USSA championed a similar law in 1997 that focused on National Wildlife Refuges, which resulted in millions of acres of additional land access for hunters.
Other key priorities include:
The Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Protection Act:
This language clarifies and specifically excludes ammunition and fishing tackle from the Toxic Substances Control Act. This would prevent the Center for Biological Diversity from using federal courts to force the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to regulate ammo and fishing tackle. Instead, ammo and fishing tackle would continue to be regulated by state fish and game agencies and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Polar Bear Conservation and Fairness Act:
This allows for the importation of 41 legally harvested Polar Bear trophies from approved populations in Canada before they were listed as an endangered species in 2008. This measure does not allow for new hunting. Instead, it simply allows those 41 successful hunters to bring home their taxidermy mounts that are currently sitting in storage.
Bows Transported through National Parks:
Under current law, only firearms are legally allowed to be transported across National Park Service lands. This is problematic for bow hunters that cross Park Service Lands to hunt on Forest Service or BLM properties.
The bill also addresses several other high priority conservation issues. For a summary of each item, click here.
“Senator Murkowski’s package is critically important to the future of hunting,” said Evan Heusinkveld, USSA’s Director of Government Affairs. “Open Until Closed is a game changer that will ensure that sportsmen and women are granted access to federal public lands for generations to come. Paired with these other vital pieces, sportsmen need to call their Senators immediately asking them to support the Sportsmen’s Act.”
Take Action! To find your Senator’s phone number visit the USSA Legislative Action Center.