Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) leaders sent a letter to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (WI) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA), as well as a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Harry Reid strongly urging the passage of sportsmen’s legislation priorities before the end of the 114th Congress.
Signatories on the House letter included CSC Co-Chairs Congressmen Rob Wittman (VA) and Tim Walz (MN) and Vice-Chairs Congressmen Jeff Duncan (SC) and Gene Green (TX), who introduced the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act, H.R. 2406, in 2015. The SHARE Act includes provisions to expand access to and opportunities for hunting, angling, and recreational shooting. The bill also includes provisions that are critically important to fish and wildlife resources conservation efforts. Similarly in the Senate, letter signatories included CSC Co-Chairs Senators Jim Risch (ID) and Joe Manchin (WV), and Vice-Chairs Senators Deb Fischer (NE) and Heidi Heitkamp (ND), who introduced the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act (S. 405) along with Senators Lisa Murkowski (AK) and Martin Heinrich (NM).
For the first time in years, both the House and Senate have been able to pass comprehensive sportsmen’s legislation, and despite strong bipartisan support during the 112th, 113th, and 114th Congresses, procedural gridlock has blocked this legislation from clearing the Congress.
In addition to this letter, 34 sportsmen’s conservation organizations recently sent a similar letter to Senate and House energy bill conferees asking for inclusion of important sportsmen’s provisions. In April, a portion of the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act was adopted under the Natural Resources Title of the Energy Policy Modernization Act (S. 2012).
Signing important sportsmen’s provisions into law before the end of the 114th Congress is crucial to the future of the hunting, fishing, and conservation traditions.
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- User conflicts with non-consumptive users (7.79%)
- Inadequate funding (whether due to budget, fire-borrowing, or other reasons) for improving wildlife populations and habitat (10.39%)
- Poor habitat and land management (12.99%)
- Access restrictions to hunting, fishing, or recreational shooting (11.69%)
- Privatization or transfer of federal public lands (57.14%)