This week, a group of Democrat and Republican Senators introduced an omnibus of legislation that will protect and enhance the future of outdoor activities such as hunting, fishing and recreational shooting. If passed, the Sportsmen’s Act (S. 733) will ultimately strengthen the hunter’s voice in future federal legislation, ease public land access for outdoor recreation and support continued opportunity for all outdoor activities and the traditions they represent.
This bipartisan sportsmen’s package will:
- Permanently designate the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council Advisory Committee as an advisor to provide direction and information to the Secretary of Interior and Secretary of Agriculture on any issues that involve wildlife and habitat conservation, hunting and recreational shooting
- Establish a policy for all federal departments and agencies to support growth and development of hunting, fishing and recreational shooting in accordance with their mission
- Support wildlife management through incorporation of qualified hunters as volunteers on National Park Service lands
- Launch “Hunt Unrestricted on National Treasures” (HUNT) Act, which will request appropriate agencies to ease access to high-priority federal lands where hunting and fishing are permitted
- Allow money from hunting and fishing licenses/taxes (Pittman-Robertson Act) to also fund and maintain shooting ranges on public land
- Set a standard of increasing access and limiting temporary closures of public lands
- Prohibit any restrictions on vehicle transportation of bows and crossbows in a National Park
- Simplify the necessary legal process for small businesses and small film crews to film on public lands
- Ensure freedom of speech and newsgathering on public lands
The Senators that introduced S 733 are sponsor Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and co-sponsors Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Jim Risch (R-ID), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND). They are members and leaders of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, an organization that works with Congress, governors and state legislatures to protect and advance hunting, angling, recreational shooting and trapping.
The process from this stage to official law is lengthy, but Senator Murkowski (R-AK) explained the significance of the introduction to the Senate. “For too long, sportsmen’s access to our federal lands has been restricted without reason or transparency. The bill we introduced is an important first step as we seek to have these priorities signed into law.”