The House Natural Resources Committee is set to hold a legislative hearing on Thursday, January 20 on a number of bills, including two of importance to sportsmen and women.
Two of the bills being considered by the Committee include the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Reauthorization Act of 2021 (H.R. 5973), a bill supported by the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF), and the Refuge From Cruel Trapping Act of 2021 (H.R. 4716), which is strongly opposed by the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation.
Why it matters: The legislative hearing scheduled for Thursday is a necessary step in the legislative process for both of these bills. The Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Reauthorization has provided approximately $31 million in federal funding to conduct roughly 185 research, restoration, and regional conservation projects, making this program critical for fish and wildlife within the Great Lakes region. The Refuge From Cruel Trapping Act represents another short-sighted piece of legislation that conflicts with the reality of science based wildlife management.
On January 20, the House Natural Resources Committee will hold a legislative hearing on the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Reauthorization Act of 2021, a CSF supported bill, and an emotionally driven piece of legislation known as the Refuge From Cruel Trapping Act of 2021, which CSF actively opposes.
The Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration (GLFWRA) Reauthorization Act of 2021, led by Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chair Representative Debbie Dingell (MI), seeks to reauthorize the GLFWRA program at $6 million annually through Fiscal Year 2027. The GLFWRA program provides federal funding to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to collaboratively with states, tribes, and other federal agencies to conduct fish and wildlife restoration efforts. Specifically, GLFWRA authorizes funding for projects such as waterfowl monitoring, wetland restoration, culvert improvement, dam removal, and other important conservation efforts.
The Refuge From Cruel Trapping Act is a short-sighted piece of legislation that seeks to ban trapping within the National Wildlife Refuge System and is strongly opposed by the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation. This bill runs counter to the support of trapping maintained by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which oversees and manages the Refuge System, who states “The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) also views trapping as a legitimate recreational and economic activity when there are harvestable surpluses of fur-bearing mammals”.
Not only is trapping one of the most highly regulated wildlife dependent activities in the world, it is often the only tool available for our nation’s wildlife professionals to manage and conserve wildlife. While this bill allows for federal agencies and state fish and wildlife agencies in certain cases to conduct trapping efforts, the bill would effectively prohibit licensed public individuals rom trapping within the National Wildlife Refuge System, despite the support maintained by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for wildlife trapping.
Leading up to the hearing, CSF will express our support for the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Reauthorization Act and make our opposition to the Refuge From Cruel Trapping Act known to the Committee.
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?