June 21, 2022

CSF Leads Effort to Oppose Bill That Undermines State Wildlife Management Authority

Why it matters: State fish and wildlife agencies have long been recognized as the primary and most effective managers of fish and wildlife in the United States. Unfortunately, in recent years, state fish and wildlife agencies have increasingly come under attack by those seeking to provide federal regulators with greater control of fish and wildlife management decisions, and H.R. 7398 represents the latest effort in that attack.

On June 15, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation sent a letter to the leadership of the House Natural Resources Committee Water, Oceans, and Wildlife Subcommittee in opposition to the Prohibit Wildlife Killing Contests Act of 2022, a bill that was scheduled to receive a legislative hearing in the Subcommittee the following day.

H.R. 7398 seeks to ban certain wildlife contests and tournaments on federal public lands managed by the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Bureau of Reclamation. This legislation is not only inconsistent with the intent of Congress for the last century, but it also ignores the professional expertise of our state fish and wildlife agencies, who are the proper and best equipped entities for managing our fish and wildlife.  If enacted, this legislation could be the proverbial “camel’s nose under the tent” and open the door to future federal legislative efforts that would represent heavy-handed fish and wildlife management that ignores the input of state fish and wildlife agencies.

Rather than being based on sound science, H.R. 7398 is another attempt to undermine state fish and wildlife management authority through emotionally-driven federal legislation. CSF maintains that, with certain exceptions such as listing under the Endangered Species Act, state fish and wildlife agencies should be left to manage their wildlife as they see fit through science-based processes and public consultation.

In the submitted letter, CSF urged the Committee to support state fish and wildlife management authority and reject H.R. 7398 should it come up for a Committee vote at a later date. To support our state fish and wildlife professionals, CSF will continue to oppose this legislation.

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?

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