(Washington, DC): The strength of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus was once again effective in defeating anti-hunting legislation in the U.S. Congress. Thanks to the efforts of Caucus members and others in the hunting community, an attempt to prohibit hunting bears over bait on federal lands was soundly defeated on the House floor last night by a vote of 163-255.
In a final attempt to move the legislation after it was withdrawn from the House Resources Committee earlier this week, sponsors of “Don’t Feed the Bears” legislation (H.R. 1472), sought to attach the bill to the Department of Interior Appropriations funding bill. The defeat on the House floor effectively ends consideration of the legislation this year and is a major victory for sportsmen.
“When the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation learned of this backdoor move leaving us only hours before the vote, the Caucus and Foundation immediately began to work to let members of Congress know the implications of the bill and to defeat it,” commented Jeff Crane, CSF Director of Policy. “Sportsmen owe a big thanks to the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus today, especially to Congressmen Robin Hayes (R-NC), Ron Kind (D-WI), Collin Peterson (D-MN), Richard Pombo (R-CA), Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Jim Saxton (R-NJ), who spoke on the House Floor in opposition to the bill.”
“This was the first time in many years that an attempt to remove sportsmen’s rights and the states’ authority to manage their wildlife has made it to the House floor, which alone is a testament to the effectiveness of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus,” said Melinda Gable, Executive Director of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation. “Through the efforts of key members of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus and the hard work of a coalition of sportsmen’s groups we were able to demonstrate the strength of the sportsmen’s voice in Congress. The defeat of the amendment last night is a solid example of why the CSF’s unique link to members of Congress is important in protecting the rights of sportsmen.”
Hunting bears over bait, regulated by state fish and wildlife agencies, is one of the most effective ways to manage bears, allowing the hunter to not only properly identify the bear but also allow a clean shot for a quick and humane kill. If passed, this legislation would have taken this option away from state wildlife managers, further weakening state’s authority to manage wildlife in their state.
“As a co-chair of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, I strongly urge members to vote against this measure that seeks to ban bear baiting,” stated Congressman Robin Hayes (R-NC) in a statement in the Congressional Record. “…(A) ban on bear baiting would set an extremely dangerous precedent of the Federal Government preempting the authority of the States to manage wildlife. The State fish and wildlife agencies have the authority and responsibility of managing wildlife and have an excellent record in years past, especially in regards to bear management…As a fellow sportsman and a strong believer in State’s rights, I strongly encourage members to support the State wildlife agencies and their successful and positive roles they play in wildlife management. At no time in history has Congress selected an individual species for Federal management and there is absolutely no reason that it should start now.”