by Karen Mehall Phillips - Thursday, February 6, 2014
Great news for sportsmen and women! My husband, Phil, and I walked into an SCI luncheon just in time to hear Melissa Simpson, Director of SCI's Government Affairs and Science-Based Conservation Division, announce that H.R. 3590—the Sportsmen's Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act—just passed in the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 268-154 and is en route to the Senate.
This legislation, commonly referred to as the "Sportsmen's Package," contains eight initially separate bills that were all packaged into one bill and introduced on Dec. 21, 2013 by the leadership of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC), working alongside the NRA, SCI, the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation and the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance, among others. The bill protects our outdoor traditions for generations to come while addressing many current concerns of hunters, target shooters and anglers—including the permanent guarantee of hunting on nearly 500 million acres of public lands. This is a very big deal.
NRA's Susan Recce, Director of NRA-ILA's Conservation, Wildlife and Natural Resources Division, told me that the priorities in the SHARE Act include: protecting the traditional use of lead ammunition and fishing tackle by American hunters and anglers, the potential increase of Pittman-Robertson funds for shooting ranges, the permanent authorization of the electronic duck stamp, importation of legally hunted polar bears, and helping facilitate the use of and access to Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service lands and waters for hunting, recreational fishing and shooting. It also prohibits the enforcement of individual firearm regulations at water resources development projects administered by the Corps of Engineers, and prohibits additional fees for commercial filming on federal lands and waterways. In addition, this legislation will also permanently establish the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council Advisory Committee to advise the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture on wildlife and habitat conservation, hunting and recreational shooting.
This legislation affects all of us. Just two years ago, Phil and I tried to get a filming and photo permit to cover a horseback hunt for elk in a wilderness area in Wyoming. After two weeks of the run-around, the U.S. Forest Service denied the permit, costing the outfitter a great opportunity for promotion and we missed a great opportunity for the "Phil Phillips Unleashed" TV show and an article in American Hunter for no apparent reason. This legislation has been a long time coming!
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