During a markup today, the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act (S. 659) passed out of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on a bipartisan vote.
Last March, after a testimony before Congress with various stakeholders and supporters, including Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) President Jeff Crane, the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act, S. 405, was split for two markups. In addition to S. 659, S. 556 was reviewed in the Energy and Natural Resources Committee and passed with overwhelming support in November.
S. 659 includes: the Hunting, Fishing, and Recreational Shooting Protection Act (adding lead fishing tackle to the list of exempted products from EPA regulation); Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act; Polar Bear Conservation and Fairness Act; Farmer and Hunter Protection Act; protecting the right of individuals to bear arms at water resource development projects; and the reauthorization of the North American Wetlands Conservation Act and the Multinational Species Conservation Funds Act.
Among other provisions that were added to the bill today, were the authorization of Fish Habitat Conservation Act; reauthorization of the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act; an amendment to uphold the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service delisting of the Great Lakes region and Wyoming gray wolves from the Endangered Species Act; and an extension of the Gulf States’ fisheries management permanently to nine miles.
Senator Cory Booker offered, and withdrew an amendment that would have infringed on ethical and legal state regulated trapping; language taken from the Refuge from Cruel Trapping Act (S. 1081). Prior to the markup, over 40 of the nation’s leading conservation organizations, including CSF, submitted a letter to EPW leadership addressing concerns with this amendment as a threat to professional fish and wildlife management. The letter stated that trapping is “a means of sustaining legitimate and historical practice of science-based conservation and sustainable use of our natural resources” and would “undermine state and fish wildlife agencies’ authority to regulate trapping.”
The passage of S. 659 out of the EPW Committee is the last step before bringing the full Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act to the floor for a Senate vote, and one step closer to protecting and advancing hunting and angling traditions.
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?