Congressional Bickering Leaves Sportsmen in the Lurch

We called the Sportsmen’s Act easy to love for a reason. Until yesterday it appeared that a large majority of lawmakers in Congress agreed.

The bill recognizes the broad economic and social impacts of conservation, improves access for sportsmen and supports habitat conservation. It integrates 17 separate bills, including the Making Public Lands Public Access Act, the Permanent Electronic Duck Stamp Act and the Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act. It also would reauthorize the North American Wetlands Conservation Act and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

Yet the Sportsmen’s Act failed to garner enough support from Senators last night to pass a procedural vote, and thus its prospects of success remain uncertain at best.

The Sportsmen’s Act failed to garner enough support to pass a procedural vote and thus its prospects of success remain uncertain at best. Photo by Dusan Smetana.

Until yesterday’s Senate vote, the Sportsmen’s Act had passed all legislative hurdles with widespread support from both political parties – a rarity in such a divisive political environment. But somehow, even after Americans expressed strong distaste for partisan politics, dysfunctional gridlock returned to Congress.

With their backs up against the so-called fiscal cliff, elected officials from both sides of the aisle locked antlers again. American sportsmen are paying the price.

Hunters and anglers are experiencing the fallout from congressional inaction as access dwindles, development diminishes opportunities for sportsmen and funding for conservation disappears.

More than 91 million U.S. residents fished, hunted or wildlife watched in 2011 – that is more 25 percent of the U.S. population. From big-game hunters in Wyoming to carp fishermen in suburban lakes and everyone in between, we are a force to be reckoned with. And we vote.

A diverse alliance of powerful groups ranging from the National Rifle Association to The Nature Conservancy has joined forces in support of the Sportsmen’s Act. Together, in the spirit of Theodore Roosevelt, we will continue to stand up for sportsmen.

The TRCP and our partners are working with congressional leaders and members of the sporting community to form partnerships on the Hill and in the field that will benefit our sporting traditions for current and future generations.

In the coming days and weeks we will be asking for your voice in this fight. Be ready.

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Vaughn Collins

Vaughn Collins

Vaughn Collins

Latest posts by Vaughn Collins (see all)

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8 comments on “Congressional Bickering Leaves Sportsmen in the Lurch

  1. Joe Blow on said:

    The fact is that 98% of Democrats supported the bill, and 98% of Republicans opposed it on a procedural point of order related to the duck stamp increase in the bill – a provision the NRA, hunting and angling community fully supported. Not a partisan shot – just factual representation of the vote which can be found on the link below.

    Yesterday’s vote will likely kill the bill this Congress. This is an astonishing turn of events considering 84% of all Senators supported moving the bill forward just 2 months ago.

  2. bnameless on said:

    this is sad. makes one wonder if this would have passed with a different administration. as outdoorsmen we need to know better how to have a voice that will be listened to in keeping the outdoors available for what we believe in and the government out of the way in telling us how to best participate in one of this countries greatest assets.

  3. Matt Johnson on said:

    Well I have to say I hunt and didn’t support this bill… I can’t believe you guys would.

    1. It makes it so that we can’t get lead banned in ammunition. So many people are waking up to this problem, it’s making kids/families/wildlife sick. The Minnesota Deer Hunters Association just released a story to this affect in the most recent copy of Whitetails… so yeah, this upsets people. What the hell are people thinking?

    2. Importing polar bear trophies after they’ve been banned? Dumb! How about we allow some illegal ivory to come into the country too in a special bill.

    So why not remove the controversial portions of it and pass the rest… that would be a win win for nature and hunters. The other two provisions are ignorant and of course they’re going to cause health and environmental groups to baulk at the bill.

    Let’s get the bill fixed TRCP and try again.

    Cheers from Minnesota,

  4. Tom Johnson on said:

    I have to agree with Matt on this one even after reading the newspaper correction to its article. The verbage you use to explain the lead ammunition issue has all the earmarks of an end run around public safety issues and the importation of 41 bear parts (taken before the ban on polar bear trophy importation) looks like a gimme to some special interest (maybe Ted Nugent). The duck stamp issue should have been a no brainer, but some members of congress have taken the “pledge” don’t you know. As written I would support it threw gritted teeth. Seems all the steps should be forward; not a bunch forward but a couple back for those “special” friends.

  5. Tom Kovalicky on said:

    I am not unhappy with this failure to Pass…It is not a well though-out piece of Legislature for many Biological, economic, and social reasons…We can do better…Lets concentrate on what we can keep intact rather than tear apart……I would love to know who is in Charge of the environment for our Grandchildren. Todays Adults need to think about the next 7 generations, not just 2013 tom kovalicky, Grangeville, Idaho

  6. larry harbert on said:

    ” Importing polar bear trophies after they’ve been banned? Dumb! How about we allow some illegal ivory to come into the country too in a special bill.”

    The polar bear trophies in question were taken PRIOR to the ban being enacted,importation was not allowed-all the bill would do is allow these trophies taken PRIOR to the ban to be imported.

    Your comments about lead from ammo making people sick is nothing more than misinformation-the Minnesota study was discredited long ago-how can you live in the state and NOT know this?
    Modern rifle ammo retains almost all of it’s original weight-most average over 90%,very few bullets do not pass through game-there are few to no bullet fragments left in game aninmals,and very,very rarely are there bullet fragments in gutpiles-all of this is nothing more than misinformatrion-a lot of it put out by the Center for Biologic Diversity to gain support for their continued efforts to ban lead ammo.

    • BarryvilleCastNBlast on said:

      The lead issue is a complicated one, but it’s certainly not black or white. What about lead shot left in gut piles? Those are eventually consumed.

      Even wildlife that ingest lead split-shot and other lead fragments when consuming gravel and small rocks to aid in digestion.

      I don’t support an outright ban on all lead items simply because I don’t think it would work. Increasing taxes on lead products create too much backlash, rhetoric and distractions.

      If we want to resolve this issue, the industry needs to step up and hunters and anglers need to take personal responsibility and make the switch voluntary. The fishing alternatives are out there and they’re pretty darn cheap. As far as ammo goes, we need to think long and hard about how we can make non-toxic alternatives more affordable and more readily available.

      As far as this partisan bickering goes. I get politics. I get that these stand-offs happen, but can’t the GOP just agree with the Democrats for once on this one? There’s always blame to go around on both sides, but in this one instance- can’t we just come together and get it passed? Enough with this crap, get it done.

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