A pro-hunting and fishing bill that would also be a monumental piece of legislation for all outdoorsmen has successfully made its way through the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources in its first step towards passage.
Known as the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act, it would make great improvements on current regulations. As reported by OutdoorHub, this comprehensive bill includes such upgrades as: improving public access to federal lands, protecting against unnecessary limitations on hunting and angling, and preserving the use of traditional fishing equipment. Two previous versions of this bill have failed in Congress, but significant changes to the current bill’s language leave many optimistic that the third time’s a charm.
The current version of this bill was introduced to Congress in May 2015 by House Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus Congressmen Rob Whitman (R-VA), Tim Walz (D-MN), Jeff Duncan (R-SC), and Gene Green (D-TX).
SHARE would accomplish many things for hunters and anglers, but most importantly, it would strengthen conservation by strengthening America’s most vital conservationists: hunters and anglers!
Many hunting, fishing, and conservation groups strongly support this bill. Among those are our friends over at Sportsmen’s Alliance and National Shooting Sports Foundation, as well as organizations such as the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP), one of the country’s most prominent conservation communities. Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the TRCP, on the news of SHARE passing through the House Committee:
“At a time when lack of access is one of the greatest barriers for hunter and angler recruitment and retention, we’re anxious to see a comprehensive and bipartisan sportsmen’s package advance to the President’s desk. Today’s action by the Natural Resources Committee is an important first step in that process. It is critical to support improvements to public access, while also working to strengthen our investment in conservation—because access means nothing without healthy fish, wildlife, and habitat.”
Not all groups are thrilled about this news, as Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) – avid opponents of all things hunting and fishing – have spoken out against this bipartisan package. HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle has expressed frustration with SHARE, likely because it would impede his group’s efforts to seek federal bans on lead ammunition and commercial trapping on federal lands, two initiatives HSUS has pursued in order to make hunting more difficult for Americans.
Nevertheless, sportsmen and conservation groups have science on their side, and this bill reflects that. Purchases of hunting and fishing equipment and licenses have allowed sportsmen to contribute billions of dollars to the direct goal of preserving wildlife habitats. Because of this money, many species are thriving in numbers, which in turn benefits hunters, anglers, and outdoorsmen all around the U.S.
There are still many hurdles to pass in order for this bill’s effects to come to fruition, but in the meantime we can be satisfied in the current progress it is making.