October 8, 2015

House Natural Resources Committee Votes in Favor of SHARE Act

On October 8, the House Natural Resources Committee held a markup on the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act (H.R. 2406).

The SHARE Act was introduced in May 2015 by House Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) leadership, Co-Chairs Congressmen Rob Wittman (VA) and Tim Walz (MN) and Vice-Chairs Congressmen Jeff Duncan (SC) and Gene Green (TX). On September 9, 47 sportsmen-conservation organizations, including the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) sent a letter to CSC Member, Chairman Rob Bishop and Ranking Member Raul Grijalva, asking for the Committee to move forward with this markup.

Congressman Wittman, as H.R. 2406 sponsor, introduced the bill’s purpose to the Committee. “I’m proud to join with Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chair Tim Walz and Caucus Vice-Chairs Jeff Duncan and Gene Green in introducing H.R. 2406, the [SHARE] Act. As an avid sportsman, I’m humble to advocate for this community and help introduce this legislation to advance the priorities of America’s sportsmen and women. This common sense proposal will expand opportunities for hunting and fishing and promote conservation across the United States,” said Congressman Wittman.

Three amendments receiving favorable votes were added to the bill: CSC Member Congressman Paul Gosar (AZ) offered language that mirrors the Grand Canyon Bison Management Act (S. 782 and House Resolution H.R. 1443); Congresswoman Amata Coleman Radewagen (representing the American Samoa) offered the “State or Territorial Approval of Restriction of Recreational or Commercial Fishing Access to Certain State or Territorial Waters” which highlighted that the National Park Service must work with states and territories to make management decisions on areas such as Biscayne National Park; and lastly, CSC Members, Congressmen John Fleming (LA) and Bruce Westerman (AR) offered language on “Hunting and Recreational Fishing within Certain National Forests.”

Other amendments that failed to pass included: removing the “African Elephant Conservation and Legal Ivory Possession Act” provision; inclusion of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) reauthorization; and amending the bill title to “Authorizing Critical Conservation and Enabling Sportsmen and Sportswomen Act of 2015” (ACCESS Act) which removed critical titles of H.R. 2406, and included the recently introduced Sportsmen’s Conservation and Outdoor Recreation Enhancement Act.

During discussion on the potential inclusion of LWCF reauthorization, Congressman Duncan presented a letter to the Committee, signed by CSF and 28 other sportsmen-conservation groups, which provides recommendations to the potential reauthorization that addresses sportsmen’s priorities. “We [should] look at providing meaningful recreational access to federal lands. This land is owned by the American tax payer,” said Congressman Duncan.

The final vote to discharge the bill as amended was 21 to 15 in favor of the SHARE Act. CSF will continue working with the CSC and partners within the hunting and angling conservation community to move this important sportsmen’s package through Congress.

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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