Contact: Brent Miller, Senior Director, Northeastern States
After missing their mark in previous years, anti-sportsmen driven legislation to ban hunting contests has resurfaced in Maryland. This year’s effort comes in the form of Senate Bill 200 (SB 200) and House Bill 293 (HB 293) which would prohibit hunting tournaments for foxes, coyotes, and raccoons when prizes are awarded.
This year’s bills appear to have a head of steam and both have passed their respective Committees with nearly unanimous votes despite oppositional testimony from Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) Senior Director, Northeastern States, Brent Miller. SB 200 cleared the Senate Committee on Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs on January 29 by a vote of 10-1. Though SB 200 was amended in Committee, it did not help make the bill any more palatable. The approved amendment simply quadrupled the fine per animal (from $25 to $100) that a participant would be forced to pay should they participate in a hunting tournament past the bill’s effective date. The bill was quickly taken up by the Senate and passed on February 5. That same day, companion bill HB 293 cleared the House Environment and Transportation Committee with a vote of 22-1 with one excused.
At the time of this writing HB 293 has passed second reading and is moving on to third reading (final vote). CSF will encourage Maryland and other states to identify and implement ways to expand access and opportunity for sportsmen and women, not limit them due to emotional appeals as would be done through the enactment of HB293/SB200.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?