The Situation Room
The Situation Room
The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA) Situation Room is an up-to-date watch and alert center. It provides a quick review of some key issues on which USSA is working.
Fighting to Protect Hunting and Fishing on Federal Public Lands
USSA is championing Federal legislation that would make hunting and fishing a priority on millions of acres of Federal public land across the country. The bill would also make it harder for antis to try and ban hunting or fishing on many Federal public lands.
Status: Recently, Bill Horn, USSA’s Director of Federal Affairs testified before Congress on the newly introduced “Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage and Opportunities Act,” H.R. 2834. USSA will be working to move the bill through Congress.
Click here and here to read more.
Delisting the Great Lakes Wolf from the Endangered Species List
Wolves in the Western Great Lakes region remain listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) despite the fact that their numbers have soared past target levels and despite the efforts of the USSAF and others to see the wolves removed from the ESA. The wolves have become a problem for many sporting dog owners and farmers because wolves are killing hunting dogs and livestock.
Status: In 2010, USSAF filed a petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) requesting that it remove wolves from the ESA in the Western Great Lakes region. The FWS has found that delisting may be warranted and started the delisting process.
The FWS has indicated that it may delist wolves in the region by then end of 2011. However, the FWS announcement that it may recognize a second species of wolf has raised concerns over the delisting of the Western Great Lakes gray wolves. USSAF has hired a wolf genetics expert and has submitted comments supporting the delisting. USSAF continues to work toward a final delisting.
Click here to read more.
In the States
2011 continues the nationwide trend where legislation claiming to be aimed at abusive commercial breeders, commonly referred to as “puppy mills,” threatens the existence of many sporting dog kennels and hobby breeders. Often, these bills lump private sporting dog kennels and breeders in with large scale commercial breeders. This subjects them to a level of regulation that would make it nearly impossible to continue operating.
In addition to “puppy mill” bills, dog legislation as a whole appears to be the anti’s latest tactic to threaten hunting. Legislation mandating the spaying/neutering of dogs and bills aimed at prohibiting tethering dogs or keeping dogs outdoors are also showing up regularly across the country.
Status: This year, USSA is already monitoring more than 92 dog related bills, covering 30 states, and is working to defeat or fix bills that are a threat to sporting dog owners.
Families Afield Legislation
This USSA project in partnership with the National Shooting Sports Foundation, National Wild Turkey Federation, National Rifle Association, and the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation is aimed at reducing and removing arbitrary barriers to youth participation in hunting. Last year, Illinois, Louisiana, Nevada, and Vermont passed legislation lowering barriers to hunting.
This year, Idaho and New Hampshire became the 31st and 32nd states since 2004 to have passed Families Afield legislation and Michigan passed its second Families Afield bill. In all, we’ve seen 32 states make changes opening the door for nearly 600,000 new hunters who have taken to the field.
Status: In 2011, Idaho and New Hampshire became the 31st and 32nd states since 2004 to have passed Families Afield legislation and Michigan passed its second Families Afield bill. In all, we’ve seen 32 states make changes opening the door for nearly 600,000 new hunters who have taken to the field.
USSA is a member of the Sunday Hunting Coalition. The coalition is a multi-organization coalition of leading conservation, sportsmen’s, and hunting groups committed to removing bans and restrictions on Sunday hunting. Currently, 11 states restrict or prohibit hunting on Sundays, including: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Status: USSA is currently working to remove the Sunday hunting ban in Pennsylvania and will continue to work to remove these outdated restrictions in other states. Click here to read more about Pennsylvania House Bill 1760 and USSA’s efforts to remove the Sunday hunting ban in Pennsylvania. Click here to visit USSA’s “Fight for Sunday Hunting in PA” Facebook page.
California Gun Registration
California Assembly Bill 809, introduced by Assemblyman Mike Feuer (D- Los Angeles), would require the state to keep registration information for all firearm purchases and transfers. This information would include the gun owner’s name, address, place of birth, telephone number, and occupation. The law would also require gun owners to provide a detailed description of the gun and the gun’s serial number.
Status: Despite an outpouring of calls from sportsmen and gun owners Governor Jerry Brown signed this unnecessary bill into law. Click here to read the full story.
License Fee Diversions
With many states facing unprecedented financial hardships legislators are looking for creative ways to balance their state budgets. Many times this means raiding the wildlife agency coffers and diverting sportsmen’s dollars to pay for unrelated items. This can cost state agencies millions in federal funding. Recently, California, Ohio, and South Dakota all had license fee diversion proposals that were defeated.
Status: In 2011, efforts were made and defeated in Arkansas and Montana that would have diverted sportsmen’s dollars to pay for unrelated items.
For more than a decade sportsmen in Iowa have been working tirelessly to establish a dove hunting season. In 2001, a bill spearhead by USSA and a coalition of many other sportsmen’s and conservation groups passed through both the House and the Senate but was vetoed by then Governor Tom Vilsack.
Status: This year, the efforts of Iowa sportsmen finally became a reality when legislation was passed allowing the state’s Natural Resources Commission to set an open season for dove hunting. Click here to read more.
New Mexico Trapping Threatened by Anti-Trappers
Anti-trapping groups in New Mexico campaigned to have the state’s Game Commission ban trapping on public lands.
Status: The New Mexico State Game Commission voted against a proposal that would have banned trapping on public lands. USSA along with the Fur Takers of America submitted comments urging the Commission to dismiss the ban. Click here to read more.
National Wildlife Refuge Case
This long running case was filed by anti-hunting organizations in an attempt to stop hunting on a number of National Wildlife Refuges.
Status: In a victory protecting hunting on Refuge lands, a Judge recently granted summary judgment in favor of sportsmen and hunting on these lands. The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation intervened in the case to protect sportsmen interests throughout the eight year legal battle. Click here to read more.
Anti-Trapping Lawsuit in Maine
Yet another lawsuit in Maine over Canada Lynx. The case mirrored a similar lawsuit which was settled and allowed trapping to continue in the state with minimal restrictions. This case is based upon the same premise that the state is “causing” the take of federally protect lynx by allowing trapping, but seeks additional restrictions on trapping. The bigger precedent is preventing the antis from using the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to block other kinds of hunting.
Status: In a major victory for Maine trappers and sportsmen across the nation, both the lower court and the appellate court ruled in our favor that Maine’s trapping practices do not irreparably harm the Canada lynx. The win establishes an excellent precedent that will make it harder for the antis to use the ESA in their attempts to ban hunting and trapping through the Courts. The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation intervened in the case to protect sportsmen interests throughout the case. Click here to read more.