The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote as soon as today on H.R. 3590, a bi-partisan package of pro-sportsmen legislation that includes vital language ensuring over 700 million acres of federal public lands remain open to fishing and hunting.
“Sportsmen nationwide must contact their U.S. Representative today and urge them to vote yes on this critically important legislation,” said Bill Horn, USSA’s director of federal affairs. “The language included in H.R. 3590 is vital to the future of hunting, fishing and recreational shooting on public lands. Also tell them to oppose any amendments that could jeopardize these protections.”
H.R. 3590, sponsored by Congressman Bob Latta (R-OH), addresses the top concerns of American hunters, anglers and recreational shooters. Known as the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act of 2013, it includes many important provisions for the future of hunting.
A key feature of the bill is the USSA supported “Open Until Closed” language which spells out that hunting, fishing and recreational shooting are legitimate and important activities on the more than 700 million acres of federal land managed by the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. The language will help stop frivolous lawsuits brought by animal rights and anti-hunting organizations when federal agencies move to open land to sportsmen. The bill is similar to the 1997 Refuge Improvement Act USSA championed to make hunting and fishing “priority public uses” on National Wildlife Refuge lands.
In addition to “Open Until Closed”, the bill includes language to:
- Prohibit the U.S. EPA from regulating lead ammunition and fishing tackle
- Allows for the importation of 41 legally harvested trophies taken before Polar Bears were listed as an endangered species in 2008
- Promote the construction of shooting ranges on public lands
- Permanently authorize the online sale of duck stamps.