In this issue of the Sportsmen’s Beat:
- House Passes Sportsmen’s Heritage Act
- Colorado Shooters Enjoy Annual Capitol Challenge Shoot Out
- Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance Participates in Bristol Bay Summit
- New Colorado Roadless Rule a Bullseye for Sportsmen
- Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance Applauds Senate Committee’s Passage of 2012 Farm Bill
House Passes Sportsmen’s Heritage Act
The United States House of Representatives recently passed a series of bills with strong bipartisan support that will strengthen America’s hunting, angling, and shooting heritage. The Sportsmen’s Heritage Act of 2012 (H.R. 4089) is comprised of four different bills that will:
- Require hunting, recreational shooting, and fishing be recognized activities on all Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands;
- Protect recreational shooting on National Monuments;
- amend the Marine Mammal Protection Act to allow hunters who have legally harvested polar bears in Canada prior to the listing under the Endangered Species Act to purchase permits allowing the transportation of their trophies into the U.S.;
- Clarify that the Environmental Protection Agency does not have jurisdiction to regulate lead components found in traditional ammunition or fishing tackle under the Toxic Substances Control Act.
The Sportsmen’s Heritage Act enjoys the strong support of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, and many other sportsmen conservation organizations. Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, Doc Hastings, sponsored an amendment clarifying some of the language in the bill, enunciating that protections for hunting and fishing in wilderness areas was not intended to open wilderness to motorized vehicle traffic, mineral extraction, or other non-permitted uses.
The Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance is a proud supporter of the Sportsmen’s Heritage Act of 2012. We also welcome an amendment in the Senate similar to the failed amendment offered by Rep. Martin Heinrich in the house which clarifies that the intent of the legislation is not to open up backcountry areas to off-highway vehicle use or development would have been a welcomed addition.
For further information about the Sportsmen’s Heritage Act, visit: http://www.bullmoosesportsmen.org/?p=557.
Colorado Shooters Enjoy Annual Capitol Challenge Shoot Out
The Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance and the Colorado Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus would like to thank all the shooters, sponsors, volunteers and elected officials that joined us for the 4th Annual Capitol Challenge Shoot Out.
This year’s shoot out was the most successful to date, drawing the attendance of nearly 120 sportsmen and women, half-a-dozen state legislators and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper. The fun filled afternoon included a round of sporting clays and a BBQ while giving sportsmen and women from across the state an opportunity to interact with elected officials and policy makers.
“The Capitol Challenge Shoot Out is a great opportunity to bring sportsmen, legislators and other Coloradans together for a shooting and conversation,” said Gaspar Perricone, Co-Director of the Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance. “It is a great venue to educate folks about the shooting sports and the role sportsmen play in supporting conservation and our local economies.”
“Colorado’s hunters and anglers play a significant role in supporting our state’s wildlife and outdoor recreational opportunities,” said Tim Mauck, Co-Director of the Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance. “It is encouraging to see our state legislators take an active role in supporting our sportsmen, and we hope that their support for the shoot will be evident in the legislature next year.”
Chair of the Colorado Sportsmen’s Caucus, Sen. Lois Tochtrop noted before the event, “This year’s event was a great time. Having the chance to interact with constituents through a fun filled day like this is fun and educational. I just hope to hit more clays next year!”
Senator Jean White from Hayden also enjoyed this year’s event. “Hunters and anglers play a vital role in supporting wildlife management and our rural economies. I enjoyed talking with local sportsmen and women look forward to continuing my work with the community in the future.”
From all of us at the Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance we would like to offer a special thank you to our sponsor who made the 4th Annual Capitol Challenge Shoot Out possible:
Anadarko, The Sportsman Channel, XCEL Energy, AFCME, Browning, 4H Shooting Sports, Colorado Department of Parks & Wildlife, Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, Our Public Lands, Colorado Youth Outdoors, Colorado Clay’s, The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Colorado Bow Hunters Association, and Trout Unlimited.
Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance Participates in Bristol Bay Summit
Gaspar Perricone, Co-Director of the Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance, was a key participant in an April summit that put sportsmen from across the country in front of decision makers in Washington to make the case for protecting Alaska’s Bristol Bay from the hazardous Pebble Mine proposal. Forty summit participants from twenty states assembled in Washington to meet with congressional offices, White House staff, and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. They presented Ms. Jackson with a letter opposing the Pebble Mine, signed by more than five hundred groups and businesses, including the BMSA. The EPA is scheduled to release its watershed assessment in early May.
Summit participants and other opponents of the mine are asking the EPA to exercise its authority under the Clean Water Act to veto this project based on the potential harm to the region’s water resources. The EPA is scheduled to release its watershed assessment in early May. Bristol Bay is home to the largest remaining sockeye runs in the world and supports more than 12,000 commercial fishing jobs. The proposed Pebble mine is an open pit mine that would rely on a giant earthen dam to protect the Bay’s watershed from dangerous mine tailings.
New Colorado Roadless Rule a Bullseye for Sportsmen
Colorado sportsmen and women applauded a recent announcement by Governor John Hickenlooper and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack following the release of a new roadless management plan to protect 4.2 million acres of federal public lands in Colorado.
“The new Colorado Roadless Rule achieves a responsible balance between the development of our public lands and the conservation of Colorado’s backcountry,” said Gaspar Perricone, Co-Director of the Colorado-based Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance. “The protections offered under this new rule will ensure the conservation of pristine habitat and robust fish and game populations that have made Colorado’s public lands a destination for generations of sportsmen.”
The new roadless rule concludes a six-year process, initiated under the Bush Administration, to develop a state-based management tool for the protection of Colorado’s roadless areas. A previous national roadless rule, enacted by President Clinton, was tabled in 2005 to allow individual states to petition for their own roadless rules. Colorado was one of only two states that opted to draft new management plans to accommodate the use of our state’s unique public lands.
“The success of the Colorado Roadless Rule is truly a testament to the positive policy outcomes that can be achieved by hunters and anglers uniting around wildlife and habitat,” said Tim Mauck, Co-Director of the Colorado based Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance.
The state-specific plan includes provisions that improve protections beyond the previous 2001 rule for outdoor recreation on our public lands, including:
- The designation of 1.2 million acres as “upper tier” that will be managed with an increased level of protection for critical wildlife populations and quality wildlife habitat.
- The rule limits the allowed surface occupancy of upper-tier acreage to only existing development rights.
- The rule will limit “Linear Construction Zones” in the upper tier to only existing development and water rights.
- The new rule protects native trout populations from long-term impacts and irrecoverable short-term impacts.
For more on the new Colorado roadless rule, visit http://www.bullmoosesportsmen.org/?p=588 and http://www.tu.org/press_releases/2012/sportsmen-colorado-roadless-rule-on-the-right-track.
Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance Applauds Senate Committee’s Passage of 2012 Farm Bill
The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry recently passed a Farm Bill that has sportsmen’s conservation groups, including the BMSA, hopeful that a Farm Bill with stronger conservation programs will be passed this year. While the Farm Bill makes up just two percent of the federal budget, and only seven percent of that is spent on conservation, the legislation is still the largest and most important private lands conservation legislation in the country. The bill now heads to the Senate floor.
The Senate Agriculture Committee was committed to ending the system of direct payments to commodity producers, opting instead for a crop insurance program to provide a critical safety net for farmers. This change worried the sportsmen’s community, as many forms of conservation incentives were tied to direct payment eligibility. Fortunately, the committee heard the concerns of hunters and anglers and inserted a Sodsaver provision that will protect native grasslands from development by limiting crop insurance coverage to 65 percent of the applicable total yield until the acreages has been in production for at least for years. The committee also included strong Conservation Reserve Program provisions, as well as continuing to fund the increasingly popular Open Fields program. Conservation easements and water quality programs were also included in the bill and are strong victories for sportsmen.
For more information on the 2012 Farm Bill, go to http://www.bullmoosesportsmen.org/?p=583 and http://www.ducks.org/news-media/du-applauds-2012-farm-bill-committee-passage.