Question: How do you eat an elephant sandwich?
Answer: One bite at a time!
On April 17, the U.S. House of Representatives approved what the United States Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA) calls “the most significant-pro-sportsmen legislation in 15 years.” Titled the Sportsmen's Heritage Act of 2012, aka H.R. 4089, passed 274 to 146 (235 Republicans and 39 Democrats). It is a package deal that includes the following:
- Classifies Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service lands as open to hunting, fishing and recreational shooting unless closed or restricted based on scientific evidence
- Confirms that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cannot ban lead in traditional ammunition or in sport fishing gear
- Protects recreational shooting on BLM National Monument land
- Allows the import of legally hunted polar bear trophies now tangled in federal red-tape
One of the main benefits of the legislation is that it will make it more difficult and costly for lawsuits filed by anti-hunting organizations. As some of us suspect, anti-hunting groups often go to court first, often bypassing rules and regulations already on the books. It also protects fishing tackle and ammunition from these attacks.
USSA president and CEO Bud Pidgeon said, “H.R.4089 spells out in plain language that hunting, fishing and recreational shooting are legitimate uses of federal public lands and that these lands are open, as a matter of law, to these traditional activities.”
Supported by most conservation organizations, the bill now goes to the Senate. You might want to ring your senator’s phone or fire off an email – today! Let’s take a bigger chunk out of this sandwich.