On Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act. The act, dubbed “House Resolution 2406,” passed with a vote of 242-161.
“Hunters and anglers were among the first to recognize the extraordinary need for wildlife stewardship in the United States, and that tradition of sportsman-led conservation continues to thrive today,” said Congressman Rob Wittman, one of the bill’s cosponsors. “The SHARE Act includes initiatives that not only protect federal lands but expand access for hunters, anglers, and outdoor recreationalists.”
Wittman joined 36 other Congressmen in support of the bill. The act was bipartisan, bringing together democrats such as Minnesota’s Tim Walz, Chairman of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, with republicans like Vice Chair Jeff Duncan of South Carolina.
“As an outdoorsman myself, I think it’s so important that we safeguard the habitats that we hold in public trust and that we protect the values and traditions held by sportsmen and women for generations to come,” Wittman said.
The bill passed with overwhelming support. However, 16 provisions were added to the bill before its passage was granted.
One allowed 41 legally taken polar bears to be authorized for import into the U.S. (The bears were banned after the species was added to the Endangered Species List in 2008). Others deal with archery tackle on National Park Service lands, baiting, elephants, and more.
The full list of provisions can be read here.
A number of provisions were also added to the bill while it was on the floor for a vote. They include:
- Adding the Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration or a designated representative to the Wildlife and Hunting Conservation Advisory Committee
- Permitting more than one U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Law Enforcement Officer to be placed in a U.S. diplomatic or consular post in an African country to assist local wildlife rangers in protection of elephants
- Requiring the Government Accountability Office to conduct a study examining the effect of a ban of the trade of illegal importation of ivory
- Prohibiting the U.S. Department of Agriculture and National Forest Service from issuing restrictions and regulations on hunting and recreational fishing in Mark Twain National Forest
- Requiring the Chief of the U.S. Forest Service to publish a notice in the Federal Register, with a justification, for the closure of any public road on Forest System lands
- Requiring the Forest Administrator to amend the travel plan for the Kisatchie National Forest in Louisiana to allow Utility Terrain Vehicle access on roads nominated by Secretary of Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, except when designation would pose a safety risk
- Allowing a person who is not prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition to transport it for any lawful purpose from a place where firearms/ammunition are legally allowed to another place where firearms/ammunition are legally allowed
- Adding The Good Samaritan Search and Recovery Act
- Reinstating the USFWS decision to delist the gray wolf in the Western Great Lakes and Wyoming, from the Endangered Species Act
- Prohibiting the USFWS from issuing a rule that preempts state management authority which is protected by law in Alaska
H.R. 2406 was supported by more than 50 conservation groups, including B.A.S.S., the Archery Trade Association, Boone and Crockett Club, Dallas Safari Club, Ducks Unlimited, Houston Safari Club, the International Game Fish Association, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Safari Club International, the Wild Sheep Foundation, and the National Rifle Association.
“The SHARE Act will strengthen America’s hunting, fishing, and sport shooting heritage now and in the future,” said Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action. “There will be more resources available for public ranges, more hunter access to public lands, and more opportunities for Americans to enjoy the great outdoors.”
“House passage of the SHARE Act is a win for hunters, anglers, and all sportsmen and women across the country,” said Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation President Jeff Crane. “The Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus leadership has been continuously working with CSF and our partners to ensure that the most important bills to the sportsmen’s community are included in the package.”