Congressional legislation to ban bear hunting was withdrawn from consideration by a House committee today. Intense sportsmenís pressure, drummed up by the U.S. Sportsmenís Alliance National Bear Hunting Defense Task Force and other huntersí groups, ensured that proponents lacked the necessary votes to send the bill to the House floor.
HR 1472, introduced by U.S. Reps. Jim Moran, D-Va., and Elton Gallegly, R-Calif., would have banned the use of bait to hunt black bears on federal land.
The withdrawal of HR 1472 is a victory for Americaís sportsmen and wildlife management professionals, said U.S. Sportsmenís Alliance Senior Vice President Rick Story. But the fight is not over. The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on the Department of Interior spending bill on July 17, and it is likely that the sponsors of HR 1472 will attempt to amend their language into the appropriations bill.
The U.S. Sportsmenís Alliance is calling on sportsmen to contact their U.S. representatives asking them to oppose language that would ban the use of bait for bear hunting. Legislators need to know that state wildlife management agencies are charged with the responsibility of managing resident wildlife, like black bears, that occur on federal lands. Sportsmen can find contact information for their Congressmen using the Legislative Action Center at www.ussportsmen.org or call (202) 224-3121.
The U.S. Sportsmenís Alliance protects the rights of hunters, anglers and trappers nationally in the courts, legislatures, at the ballot, in Congress and through public education programs. For more information about the U.S. Sportsmenís Alliance and its work, call (614) 888-4868 or visit its website, www.ussportsmen.org.
TUCSON, Ariz., July 15, 2003 SCI, the leader in protecting the freedom to hunt and in promoting wildlife conservation worldwide, today announced that HR1472, a bill meant to undercut the ability of state wildlife officials from effectively managing bears, was withdrawn prior to being discussed during the US House Resources Committee meeting this afternoon. This occurred in part due to the collective and concentrated grassroots efforts of SCI members, other sportsmen and women, as well as the Congressional Sportsmenís Foundation, the International Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies, the National Rifle Association and US Sportsmenís Alliance.
By withdrawing HR1472 from the table, said Gary Bogner, president of SCI, the House Resources Committee has shown it understands that proper bear management truly is a statesí issue. It should not be dictated at the federal level, or by anti-hunting zealots. This victory against legislation supported by Humane Society of the United States, simply would not have been possible without the calls, letters, and e-mails from thousands of SCI Members and from other passionate hunters across the country.
U.S. Congressman Richard Pombo (CA, R-11th) chairman of the Resources Committee, said, The bill is an insult to law-abiding sportsmen across the country. These constituents have spoken.
Bogner added, SCI lobbyists, Ron and Cindy Marlenee, are now fighting valiantly against an apparent attempt to backdoor this ill-conceived initiative. Hunters should be ready to sound off again, if the bill is reintroduced later this week in an Appropriations Committee meeting.
Nine states are effectively using hunting bears over bait as part of their wildlife management programs, reported Merle Shepard, chair of SCIís Government Affairs Committee. In some parts of the United States, this practice is absolutely essential to keeping bear populations at levels that are supportable by habitats and to minimize the potential for tragic human/bear encounters.
A shameless attempt to sneak an anti-hunting bill through Congress failed as a result of intense pressure and opposition from NRA members, and a host of sportsmen`s organizations. Through our extraordinary combined efforts, the amendment was soundly defeated on July 17 by a vote of 163 to 255.
This backdoor effort by Representatives Jim Moran (D-Va.), and Elton Gallegly (R-Cal.), sought to bury the anti-hunting legislation in an amendment to the House Interior Appropriations bill after H.R. 1472, also known as the "Don`t Feed the Bears Act," was withdrawn from the House Resources Committee on July 15. Nonetheless, this issue may come up again this session, and we will keep you informed of any future developments on this front.
Passage of this misguided measure would have set a very dangerous precedent, opening the door to federal preemption of the rights of the individual states to manage resident wildlife. At no time in history has Congress selected an individual species for federal management and the NRA remains unalterably opposed to such federal infringement.
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