Sportsmen’s Bill, Conservation Issues Wait in Washington


DALLAS — The House on Feb. 5 passed the Sportsmen’s Heritage And Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act, H.R. 3590, with strong support from the Dallas Safari Club (DSC) and many other sporting and conservation organizations.

The SHARE Act is a collection of legislative measures. Short titles within the bill include:

• Hunter and Farmer Protection Act
• Hunting, Fishing, and Recreational Shooting Protection Act
• Permanent Electronic Duck Stamp Act
• Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage and Opportunities Act
• Recreational Lands Self-Defense Act
• Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act
• Polar Bear Conservation and Fairness Act

DSC helped shape several provisions, especially the Polar Bear Conservation and Fairness Act, which would correct unjust government takings of legally acquired property. Forty-one bears were taken in 2008 immediately prior to the species being listed under the Endangered Species Act. Listing meant the hides could not be imported to the U.S. This legislation would allow the hides to be released to those 41 hunters.

The bill passed the House by a relatively strong bipartisan vote of 268-154.

The Senate has introduced its own version of the bill (S. 1996).

Here’s a rundown of other DSC priority efforts in Washington D.C. and Austin, Texas.

Elephant Conservation
A House Natural Resources Committee subpanel hearing on June 24 focused on a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ban on importing ivory from lawfully hunted elephants from Tanzania and Zimbabwe in 2014. Some lawmakers criticized the ban as another federal regulatory overreach. DSC called it ultimately harmful to elephant conservation.

Outside groups sued the agency to force a reversal of the ban, but with those suits predictably failing in court, DSC is continuing its aggressive but more cooperative approach. Along with Conservation Force and other partners, DSC is providing the agency with the data it needs to assuage concerns about regulated elephant hunting in the two African nations. For example, elephants in areas of Zimbabwe are severely overpopulated and destroying their habitat. Regulated hunting provides needed management but the ban is an unnecessary obstacle.

Three Amigos
Provision A court battle appears imminent over this provision to the 2014 Omnibus Bill.

When President Obama signed the bill into law in January, he approved the DSC-backed “Three Amigos” provision to ensure the future of three antelope species nearly extinct in their native countries but flourishing on ranches in Texas. The measure exempts U.S. populations of scimitar horned oryx, Dama gazelle and addax from Endangered Species Act protections. It clears the way for Texas ranchers to maintain herds of these game animals and offer hunts without federal obstruction. Hunting revenue incentivizes ranchers to ensure that populations thrive.

In March, Friends of Animals filed a complaint challenging the provision’s constitutionality.

UN Arms Trade Treaty
The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty is a clear threat to the Second Amendment. Language within the treaty fails to acknowledge lawful firearm ownership as a fundamental civilian right, even for personal defense, while encouraging governments to collect identities of individuals who own imported firearms. Many staunch supporters of the Second Amendment, including DSC, are following the treaty and will oppose its consideration in the U.S. Senate.

Hunting on Public Lands
DSC is encouraging hunters to oppose a petition submitted to the U.S. Department of the Interior demanding rules against hunting with traditional ammunition on federal public lands, or about 20 percent of the U.S. land area. The petition, filed by the Humane Society of the United States, the extreme anti-hunting and animal rights group, has no basis in science. See details here.

Right to Hunt in Texas
The state legislature convenes every other year in Texas, and bills for the 2015 session will be filed this fall. Anticipated are important measures such as creating a constitutional right to hunt and fish, which DSC will enthusiastically support. Always in the mix are bills affecting deer hunters, dog owners, hunting traditions and rural lifestyles. Also expected are legislative leadership changes that could impact sportsmen’s issues in Texas.

DSC will be staying vigilant. DSC utilizes the legislative services of The LeMunyon Group in Washington D.C. and Mabry Public Affairs in Austin, Texas.

About Dallas Safari Club (DSC) Desert bighorns on an unbroken landscape, stalking Cape buffalo in heavy brush, students discovering conservation. DSC works to guarantee a future for all these and much more. An independent organization since 1982, DSC has become an international leader in conserving wildlife and wilderness lands, educating youth and the general public, and promoting and protecting the rights and interests of hunters worldwide. 

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Mia Anstine is an outdoor writer, licensed outfitter, hunting guide, life coach, keynote speaker, and range safety officer, firearms instructor, and archery instructor. She is the founder of MAC Outdoors and Host of the MAC Outdoors Podcast. 

Mia Anstine strives to encourage others to get outside, hunt, fish, shoot, and survive life with others in a positive way.

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Mia Anstine
MAC Outdoors LLC
PO Box 31
Ignacio, CO 81137-0031 

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