On Wednesday, June 12th, the U.S. House of Representatives is set to take the first step towards protecting hunting on millions of acres of federal public land.
The House Natural Resources Committee is expected to hold a hearing on the Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage and Opportunities Act (HR 1825), consider potential amendments, and then vote on the full bill. HR 1825, introduced by Representative Dan Benishek (R-MI), is the most significant legislation protecting sportsmen’s access in the past 16 years.
The key provision of the bill is the “Open Until Closed” language, which mandates that U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands are open to fishing, hunting and recreational shooting unless specific steps are taken to close those lands for necessary and demonstrable reasons. This language is designed to “shut the door” on abusive lawsuits by anti-hunting groups that aim to push sportsmen and women off federal lands.
HR 1825 clearly states that fishing, hunting, and recreational shooting are legitimate and important activities on National Forests and BLM lands.
The Open Until Closed provision is a “game changer” for the future of hunting, fishing and recreational shooting on public land. The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance led the charge for similar 1997 legislation that protects sportsmen’s access to National Wildlife Refuge land that has resulted in new refuges open to hunting all across America.
It is important to have a strong vote in the House Resources Committee. To earn that, sportsmen will need to contact members of the committee to let them know how important HR 1825 is to the future of hunting.
Take Action! - Sportsmen and women should contact the following members of the House Resources Committee and ask them to vote ‘YES’ on HR 1825. The support of these members is important to having a strong bi-partisan bill. Tell them hunters, anglers and recreational shooters want their access to public lands protected.
Congressman Matthew Cartwright - (202) 225-5546
Congressman Jim Costa - (202) 225-3341
Congressman Peter A. DeFazio - (202) 225-6416
Congressman Joe Garcia - (202) 225-2778