By a huge bipartisan majority The Sportsmen’s Act will pass the senate Monday sometime after 5:30 PM. It's widely believed that something very similar to the senate version will be accepted by both houses and signed quickly into law. A similar bill has already passed the house. The act is actually an amalgamation of a lot of separate bills loosely hunting, shooting, fishing, and wildlife related. The following is a look at what’s in it, and if known, a quick explanation.
It's a long drive to find a public place to shoot along the front range of Colorado.
More below those funny orange innards.
My Senator Udall from Colorado inserted the part about shooting ranges on public land. Funding from a tax on firearms covers most spending for wildlife and this allows some of those funds to be used for shooting ranges with a longer time frame for construction. It also streamlines the leases for public lands to site these ranges.
Another part allows bow hunters to cross National Parks to access hunting beyond. (Michael Bennet my other senator, thanks Michael)
Another part allows duck stamp fees to increase and state agencies to sell them electronically online.
One of the most important pieces of the legislation allocates resources to consolidate the checkerboard patterns of some public land and in other cases to purchase access to otherwise inaccessible public lands that are now blocked by private lands. Distant National Parks get all the headlines but from a global warming perspective, local, accessible, public lands, generate a smaller carbon footprint.
The bill also reauthorizes the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Partners for Fish and Wildlife program. Someone has to do the actual work of protecting vulnerable wildlife and those three programs do so. Believe it or not wildlife conservation doesn’t mean suing someone.
The parts the antis love to hate are reaffirming that the EPA doesn’t regulate lead from bullets or fishing weights as they don’t present a danger to humans, but what the act does do is shift regulation to the individual state departments of Fish and Wildlife as well as the Federal US Fish and Wildlife Service. Courts have tossed out suits over lead and the EPA about a billion and a half times and as soon as they do "environmental" groups file suit the next day wasting our resources in lawyer fees.
I know that the funding for this bill comes form Pittman Robertson funds, an at source tax on all things shooting and fishing. It's my guess that the lions share of that money is from recreational shooters and gun purchases. At a buck a bullet becoming proficient at shooting costs more for amo than it does for the gun. Reloading cuts that price in half or more. Inexpensive mass produced 22 caliber bullets at less then five cents a shot allow one to achieve accuracy on a budget. A big hat tip to BB.
Also the bill allows the importation of some three dozen polar bear hides, that have been stuck in limbo in Canada since before the US declared the polar bear an endangered species.
In the small print is money for Asian and African Elephants, great apes, whales, some kind of rhinoceros, tigers, marine turtle, and neotropical migrating birds whatever the heck they are. What say you, have all these exotic foreign animals to do with hunting and fishing? Well nothing except that hunters and anglers are the largest financial contributors to all kinds of wildlife in the US and our largess runeth over for animals everywhere.
A similar bill has already passed the House. Senator Tester, Democrat of Montana was the bill’s sponsor in the senate. He won a contentious senate race where his advocacy of all issues hunting was something he mentioned about a gazillion times. The NRA noticeably stayed out of the Montana senate race.