On May 19, House Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) leadership introduced the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act of 2015 (H.R. 2406), aimed “to protect and enhance opportunities for recreational hunting, fishing, and shooting, and for other purposes.”
Introduced by CSC Co-Chairs Congressmen Rob Wittman (R-VA) and Tim Walz (D-MN), and CSC Vice-Chairs Congressmen Jeff Duncan (R-SC) and Gene Green (D-TX), the SHARE Act is a bipartisan package with 13 pro-sportsmen’s provisions.
H.R. 2406 will: (1) make the existing exemption from EPA regulation for lead shot permanent, and adds lead tackle as an exempted product; (2) extend and increase states’ authority to allocate Pittman-Robertson funding for shooting ranges on public lands; (3) authorize the lawful possession of firearms pursuant to state law on water resource development project lands managed by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; (4) permanently establish the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council Advisory Committee to advise the Secretaries of Interior and Agriculture on wildlife and habitat conservation, hunting, and recreational shooting; (5) require Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) lands to be open for hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting unless specifically closed; (6) authorize the lawful transportation of bows and crossbows on National Park Service lands; among other provisions.
On May 20, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) President Jeff Crane testified at a joint hearing before the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands and Water, Power and Oceans on the newly introduced SHARE Act. “The concept of the bipartisan Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus pushing a bipartisan sportsmen’s bill is in itself indicative of the fact that conservation activities including hunting, angling, and recreational shooting, and our other outdoor traditions, are not defined by or constrained to any partisan label. Sportsmen and women are stewards of the outdoors, regardless of political affiliation,” said Crane.
House CSC leadership and original H.R. 2406 cosponsors shared their support of the bill:
“This bipartisan legislation is full of important initiatives that facilitate access to outdoor sporting activities and uphold the values and traditions celebrated by sportsmen and women across the United States. I am eager to continue working with my colleagues on the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus and in the House of Representatives to continue moving this meaningful bill forward on behalf of America’s hunters and anglers,” said Congressman Wittman.
“Outdoor activities like fishing and hunting contribute over $3 billion to Minnesota’s economy alone and provide tens of thousands of jobs. This bipartisan legislation will help advance our outdoor heritage for generations to come and keep our outdoor economy moving forward,” said Congressman Walz.
“This is a common-sense package of legislative measures to address the issues closest to the hearts of sportsmen and women everywhere. As an avid supporter of the outdoors, and a Vice-Chair of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, I understand the issues and am very pleased with the legislation. We need to do more to ensure that all hunters and anglers have the access they deserve to enjoy the beauty of the American outdoors,” said Congressman Duncan.
“This bipartisan bill advances conservation and access to national public lands, and includes key priorities for sportsmen and women. As Vice-Chair of the Congressional Sportsmen Caucus, I’m proud to support legislation that promotes hunting and fishing, and land conservation, which will ensure that our public lands endure for generations,” said Congressman Green.
In February, the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2015, a similar pro-sportsmen’s legislative package, was introduced by Senate CSC leadership and Members.
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?