Barbara Baird is a freelance writer in outdoor and travel markets. A former small-town newspaper editor and reporter, she constantly hunts for news headlines you need to read. Barbara also publishes Women’s Outdoor News online and pens columns for the National Wild Turkey Federation and Shooting Sports USA. Hailing from the Ozarks of Missouri, this avid hunter is now mentoring the second generation of hunters - her own little bevy of Realtree-wearing grandchildren.
New Bill Would Expand Public Hunting Access
Last week, Southwick Huntersurvey.com released a poll that showed 23 percent of respondents claimed their access to hunting had been either restricted or off-limits last year.
To that end, the U.S. House Appropriations approved an Interior and Environment Appropriations bill that includes $7.5 million to expand and improve access for hunting, fishing and recreational shooting on U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands. This funding would allow the USFS and BLM to purchase rights-of-way from private landowners interested in allowing access to nearby or adjoining public lands.
In a press release from the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Senior Vice President and General Counsel Larry Keane said, "The biggest challenge facing hunters and shooters is diminishing access to public lands. This important appropriations provision addresses this challenge head-on, and the NSSF is deeply grateful to Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers and Interior Subcommittee Chairman Mike Simpson for championing this cause.”
More than 35 millions acres of BLM and USFS land do not allow adequate access, and according to a report done in 2004 for the House Committee on Appropriations, in Montana/Dakotas alone, there are 8.4 million acres of BLM lands with inadequate access. That's 29 percent, and a chunk.
We recommend that you keep an eye on this measure, and if so inclined, let your congressman know that you want it funded. After all, it’s your land.
Need a list of congressmen from your neck of the woods? Check here.