Congress Misses Chance to Pass a Sportsmen’s Package
WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 21, 2018) – Hunters and anglers have found themselves passed over by the fourth Congress in a row, after a package of conservation, recreation, and public land bills was pulled from consideration. The National Wildlife Federation criticized Congress for failing to advance a “sportsmen’s package” of bills with bipartisan support to increase hunter participation, public hunting access, and wildlife conservation, while encouraging the next Congress to make it a priority.
“The National Wildlife Federation has been proud to work with other hunters and anglers to support wildlife conservation and the critical role outdoor recreation plays in our economy and heritage,” said Mike Leahy, director of wildlife, hunting and fishing policy for the National Wildlife Federation. “We encourage Congress to salvage the bipartisan sportsmen’s package or make a it a priority in 2019 to pass a bill to increase opportunities for outdoorsmen and women, and address critical wildlife conservation challenges such as poaching and invasive species, as well as endangered species such as sea turtles.”
The sportsmen’s package included a Pittman-Robertson Modernization Act to increase hunter-angler recruitment without jeopardizing state wildlife conservation funds. The 1937 Federal Aid in Wildlife Conservation Act (Pittman-Robertson) — which the National Wildlife Federation helped pass shortly after its founding in 1936 — uses excise taxes on hunting and firearms equipment to fund wildlife conservation through state grants. The Pittman-Robertson Modernization Act would allow for more funds to be used for hunter recruitment amid falling hunter participation, so that there are more users paying into the wildlife conservation funding system.
Additionally, the sportsmen’s package includes provisions ensuring federal public lands remain open to hunting and fishing, identifying opportunities for recreational shooting, reauthorization of the Neotropical Bird Conservation Act through 2022, and the WILD Act creating Theodore Roosevelt Genius Grants for innovative solutions to fish and wildlife conservation challenges and extending important conservation programs.
Senior Communications Coordinator
National Wildlife Federation
Great Lakes Regional Center
Uniting all Americans to ensure wildlife thrive in a rapidly changing world