New Bill Promoting Public Lands Access for Hunting Draws Praise Protest, Puke

New Bill Promoting Public Lands Access for Hunting Draws Praise from Outdoors Community
Published on Saturday, October 26, 2013

WASHINGTON –-( legislation introduced today that would  increase hunting and angling access on public lands and bolster the nation’s  outdoor recreation economy was welcomed by a broad coalition of influential  sportsmen’s groups and outdoor interests.

The Hunt Unrestricted on National Treasures Act, or  “HUNT Act,” introduced this afternoon by Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico,  directs federal agencies to inventory all public lands greater than 640 acres  where hunting and fishing are legal but inaccessible with the goal of expanding  access for members of the public. The legislation finances land acquisitions  from willing sellers through a small percentage of Land and Water Conservation  Fund monies. Heinrich introduced similar legislation in 2012, when he was a  member of the House of Representatives.

Sportsmen and others hailed the measure as a way of maintainingHuntingTrophiesJamieKripke600 and  expanding sportsmen’s access to public lands that provide important fish and  wildlife habitat and offer valuable opportunities for hunting and fishing. They  note that Heinrich’s announcement coincides not only with the opening of  big-game seasons across the country but also with National Hunting and Fishing  Day and National Public Lands Day, both on Saturday.

“The HUNT Act would open millions of acres of landlocked public lands to  public access, expanding the opportunity for sportsmen to hunt, fish and  otherwise enjoy these uniquely American resources,” said Joel Webster, director  of the Theodore Roosevelt  Conservation Partnership’s Center for Western Lands. “Sportsmen need  two things to be able to hunt and fish: access and opportunity. We appreciate  Senator Heinrich’s leadership in introducing this measure and specifically  addressing the very real challenge of diminished public access to our publicly  owned lands and waters.”

“Ensuring access to America’s public lands is good for people, good for  communities and good for business,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, president and CEO  of Outdoor  Industry Association. “I applaud Senator Heinrich for introducing  legislation that reinforces the importance of outdoor recreation to the  economy and improves access for all Americans who enjoy hunting, fishing  and outdoor recreation.”

Heinrich, who often hunts and fishes public lands, acknowledged that  diminished access is a growing problem for sportsmen.

“Sportsmen say their No. 1 concern is the lack of access to our public lands  across the West,” Heinrich stated. “The HUNT Act will open up these areas to  hunting and fishing and grow our thriving outdoor recreation economy in the  process. Hunting and fishing are a way of life for millions of Americans. As an  avid hunter, I remain deeply committed to preserving our outdoor heritage for my  children and for future generations.”

“­­­­­­­­­­­­­­The  HUNT Act exemplifies a pragmatic approach to increasing access to public lands  for hunters and anglers,” said Gaspar Perricone, director of the Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance. “We commend Senator  Heinrich for his efforts to identify federal landlocked lands and for providing  the necessary recourses to ensure that they are accessible by  sportsmen. The HUNT Act will further reverse the trend of declining access  to public lands for hunters and anglers.

“American outdoors families are frustrated when they have public land on the  map but are effectively locked out,” said Land Tawney, executive director  of Backcountry  Hunters & Anglers. “Senator Heinrich gets it. He hunts public lands, and  this bill corrects that problem, using commonsense tools to open up access to  land that is already in the public domain. That’s a win-win for landowners,  hunters and anglers and all families that love the outdoors.”

“Senator Martin Heinrich’s reintroduction of the HUNT Act is a means to  protect rural economies and our sportsman heritage,” said Kent Salazar,  a National Wildlife  Federation board member whose family has lived and ranched in New  Mexico for several generations. “Without access to public lands for hunting,  fishing and recreating in America’s great outdoors, our economy, our tourism and  our citizens’ health will suffer. As an avid hunter and outdoorsman, I  support Senator Heinrich’s bill because it is good for all  Americans.”

“Heinrich’s perspective on this issue is a genuine one,” said Garrett  VeneKlasen, southwest regional director forTrout  Unlimited’s Sportsmen’s Conservation Project. “Probably more than most  members of Congress, he hunts and fishes on public lands, so this bill comes  from a place of personal, intimate knowledge. He’s spot on when it comes to  public lands sportsmen’s issues.”

Inspired by the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt,  the TRCP is a coalition of organizations and grassroots partners working  together to preserve the traditions of hunting and fishing.  For more  information on the TRCP visit our  website.

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Call Today! The “Sportsmen’s” Act of 2012 Must Fail

URGENT!  Before you read another line, pick up your phone, call your Senators and tell them to OPPOSE S 3525 (the so-called, “Sportsmen’s” Act of 2012)! You can find the contact numbers for your senators at the following web page:

Though the threat of having to watch bowhunter Paul Ryan by crowned Vice President has passed, the specter of sport hunting still haunts the halls of Congress. Under the cunning guise of “conservation,” the Sportsmen’s Act of 2012, S 3525, is a Senate version of the House’s ridiculous “Sportsmen’s Heritage Act” (what will they think of next, a Serial Murderer’s Heritage Act?).

No animal should be reduced to the level of mere object only to be “harvested” at the casual whim of jaded trophy seekers out for a diversion from their meaningless lives.

For the sake of wildlife, public lands and unspoiled wilderness nationwide, we must stop this absurd act from becoming law.

Of course, the animal’s enemies are lining up behind it. According to a new post in Outdoor Life (a popular “sportsmen’s” magazine that actually promotes outdoor death) entitled, “Must-Pass Legislation: Sportsmen’s Act of 2012,”

“The fight for the Sportsmen’s Act isn’t over. The NRA, National Shooting Sports Foundation, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Boone and Crocket Club, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, and a host of other national, regional and local groups are calling all hands to lobby their Senators for passage.”

Make no mistake, those of us who truly care about wildlife wouldn’t want to see this pass even if it were a painfully annoying kidney stone. The Sportsmen’s Act of 2012 is a must-fail piece of legislation.


Thanks to the Animal Welfare Institute for the following action alert:

On November 13, their first day back in session following the recent election, the U.S. Senate will resume consideration of The Sportsmen’s Act of 2012 (S. 3525). Please call and urge your Senators to oppose S. 3525.

If enacted, S. 3525 will have substantial and direct adverse impacts on wildlife, public health and existing conservation efforts. This bill would weaken protections offered by laws such as the Marine Mammal Protection Act, Toxic Substances Control Act and Endangered Species Act. Included in the bill’s language are provisions that would:

•Eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority under the Toxic Substances Control Act to regulate hazardous substances—including lead, a dangerous neurotoxin—released by ammunition and sport fishing waste.

•Encourage federally-funded construction and expansion of public shooting ranges on state and federal land, including land managed by the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management.

•Amend the Marine Mammal Protection Act to permit importation of polar bear carcasses taken before the species was listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act in 2008—including those taken despite multiple warnings of an imminent ban on imports.

This legislation, if enacted, will interfere with important statutory protections affecting animal welfare, human health, and the environment.

The Senate is moving quickly on this bill, so your help is urgently needed TODAY.  Please contact your Senators by phone, email, or fax and tell them to oppose S. 3525!

You can identify your Senators and their contact information here.

Sample Message:

As one of your constituents, I urge you to help protect human health, wildlife and public lands by voting against S. 3525. This legislation, if passed, will undermine provisions of existing conservation statutes including the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Toxic Substances Control Act. It will also interfere with the exercise of authority by federal agencies responsible for managing federal lands and protecting public health. Please oppose S. 3525, and help to protect wildlife, habitat and the public.

Thank you,