How to Use the Summer Months to Protect Your Hunting Rights

For many sportsmen and women the summer months are spent staring at a calendar and crossing off days until the fall hunting seasons start back up.  Online sportsmen forums are filled with posts titled “100 days till deer season” or “Only 60 more days till the dove opener” and posts on Facebook or Twitter by your hunting friends often read “Going out to shoot the bow, is it November yet?”

Although the summer can be a dull time for sportsmen it is an excellent opportunity for sportsmen to work to protect their hunting rights.  Here are a few easy things you can do to help protect your hunting rights.

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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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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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Why the Lies Being Told in California Should Worry Sportsmen Nationwide

It’s easy to understand why California Houndsmen are up in arms as the animal rights lobby continues its push to ban hunting with hounds for bobcat and bears.  But what you might not know is why it should matter to sportsmen in the other 49 states.

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Three Things to Know About Your Hunting Rights

1.  Your Hunting Rights Are Not Absolute.

Your right to hunt, fish, and trap can be taken away easier than you realize.

In fact, they are generally treated as “privileges” in the eyes of the law (not much different from driving.)  Legislators and government officials have the ability to easily amend, restrict, or prohibit hunting, fishing, and trapping.

Threats to your rights pop up across the country constantly.  They come from legislators, government agencies, and at the ballot box and can come from all levels of government – the local, state, and national levels.

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Exposed: Meet the Senators Responsible for California’s Hunting Ban Vote

The behind the scenes story about how the California Senate came to vote to prohibit bear and bobcat hunting with hounds is a real eye-opener to hunters about how state government actually functions in the Golden State.  And it should be a lesson to sportsmen nationwide as it would be naïve to believe this couldn’t happen elsewhere.

On May 21, the Senate passed Senate Bill 1221 by a vote of 22 – 15.  It takes 21 votes to pass a bill. When a vote is this close, it’s really important to know who sportsmen should hold accountable.

Here are the four Senators most responsible for the hunting ban:

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