California Vote Shows System Worked… For Now

Yesterday, the democratic system worked in California. For months sportsmen have been waiting for this moment. For months they’ve been calling their legislators. They’ve driven thousands of miles to the state capital to overwhelmingly pack hearing rooms with opponents of SB 1221.  They’ve answered every false charge with the facts about hunting with hounds. They’ve exposed the real agenda of the proponents of the bill.

They watched as anti-hunting Senators added the hunting ban language to a bill that was originally about air quality standards. They watched anti-hunting groups lie to members of a Senate Committee without being challenged to back up their false claims. They watched formerly pro-sportsmen legislators with the opportunity to kill SB 1221 switch sides “so that debate could continue.” They watched as a Republican Senator, recently endorsed by the Humane Society of the United States for his Congressional race, supplied the deciding vote on the Senate floor.

They watched and wondered. Were their efforts making any difference at all? Many of them contacted the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance to search for new methods of attack. A new strategy. Something.

Their Efforts Paid Off

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Congress Pursues Sportsmen’s Access Options

There may still be light at the end of the tunnel for sportsmen who want to persuade Congress to pass legislation that protects hunting, fishing and recreational shooting on federal lands.  Frustrated by an unending barrage of anti-hunting lawsuits aimed at closing the gates to sportsmen and women, the hunting community has united behind a series of provisions aimed at clarifying what once was thought to be a given: hunters, anglers and shooters (the most prominent supporters of wildlife conservation in America) belong on federal land where hunting, fishing and recreational shooting can take place. 

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Sportsmen’s Calls are Critical to Compel Senators to Protect Hunting on Public Land

In March and April, bi-partisan majorities in the House Natural Resources Committee and the full U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 4089, the Sportsmen’s Heritage Act of 2012.  The most significant fishing, hunting, and shooting legislation passed in the last 15 years,  the bill included two primary features: (1) confirmation of federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rulings that the agency does not have authority to ban lead in ammunition or fishing gear and (2) game changing new law establishing that Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service lands (totaling more than 700 million acres of public lands) are open to fishing, hunting, and shooting unless and until the agencies take specific action to impose closures or restrictions.  And closures and restrictions must be necessary and based on sound science and evidence.

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Public Lands Are Essential for the Future of Hunting (and What You Can Do to Protect Them)

Over the past few months, the sportsmen’s community has been abuzz over the Sportsmen’s Heritage Act of 2012.  Since being passed by the U.S. House in April, the U.S. Senate has been working on its own version of this pro-sportsman legislation.

Senators Jon Tester (D-MT) and John Thune (R-SD) have complied a Senate version of the Sportsmen’s Heritage Act which includes a host of pro-sportsmen bills as an amendment to the 2012 Farm Bill.  The amendment is packed full of great things for sportsmen including critical legislation clarifying that the U.S. EPA doesn’t have that authority under the Toxic Substances Control Act to ban lead ammunition and fishing tackle.  Despite the fact the EPA has stated twice that it doesn’t have this authority, the Center for Biological Diversity and other anti-hunting groups recently filed another lawsuit seeking to force an EPA ban on traditional ammunition.

The House passed version of the bill included one landmark provision that so far isn’t included in the Senate package.  This provision stated that lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management are deemed open for hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting unless closed.

Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) will be offering a separate amendment to include this language with the rest of the Sportsmen’s Heritage Act in the Senate.  If the Murkowski amendment is added to this already great bill it would be the icing on the cake for sportsmen.

The Murkowski amendment would be a real game-changer for protecting hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting on public lands, here’s why:

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