Thursday, September 8, 2011

Congressional Sportman Caucus Introduces New Bill for Hunters

Sportsman organizations have applauded Representatives Dan Benishek (R-MI) and Dan Boren (D-OK), of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus.  On Friday, September 2, 2011 the two congressional members introduced the bipartisan Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage and Opportunities Act.  The bill will help guarantee that recreational fishing, hunting and shooting sports are supported as public activities on federal lands.  This legislation directs federal land management agencies, such as the U.S. Forest Service(USFS) and U.S. Bureau of Land Management (USBLM) to apply the multi-use mandates in their management plans to support public access to our nation's public lands.

A recent Congressional report concluded that more than 35 million acres of land owned by the USFS and USBLM have inadequate access for sportsmen and women.  This new legislation directs managers to facilitate recreational fishing and hunting on public lands and waters. With respect to the agencies' land management plans, the bill directs managers to evaluate how traditional outdoor activities will be impacted by the implementation of new regulations, management plans or land use initiatives.

Recreation is the single largest economic output of national forests and grasslands, with 46.5 million anglers spending over $1.2 billion annually to enjoy recreational fishing on USFS lands.

The Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage and Opportunities Act directs the USFS and USBLM managers to not only promote recreational fishing and hunting access, but to further take advantage of one of the biggest economic drivers for the agencies.

While the bill does not directly open federal land to recreational fishing and hunting, by directing managers to operate federal lands as "open-until-closed," overall access will increase significantly. This legislation is expected to encourage recreational fishing, hunting and the shooting sports on public lands and waters and increase participation in these past-times.

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Satveer Chaudhary is the founding lawyer of Chaudhary Law Office, PLLC.  In practice over 10 years Chaudhary brings 14 years of legislative experience as a State Senator and Member of the Minnesota House of Representatives to each and every case

Satveer S. Chaudhary is a lifelong sportsman and former wildlife and conservation policy- maker. As an attorney, he represents hunting and fishing organizations, businesses, individual hunters and anglers, and serves on the board of Safari Club International. He has worked in a variety of capacities with National Association of Sportsmen Caucuses, NRA, Ducks Unlimited, and Pheasants Forever. He knows the law because he helped make it.

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