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Tell the Senate to Pass the Sportsmen's Act - NOW!

November 28, 2012

If you do one thing today or tomorrow – call or email one of the U.S. Senators listed below. Tell them you support passage of the Sportsmen’s Act of 2012. Tell them that if they don’t vote for it, you consider them anti-hunters.If we have any hope of turning the tide on this bill, probably the most important piece of hunting and fishing legislation of our generation, we can’t wait. You must call now. We’ve covered the contents of the Sportsman’s Act in the links below, but to refresh you, here’s why it matters:

14 | Read the full entry

Guide to America's Public Land

Click on your state in the map below.

Find the top public-land destinations in your state, including:

  • Wildlife Refuges
  • State WMAs
  • National Forests
  • Fishing Access Sites

About Open Country

Hunters and anglers across the nation consistently list one challenge as their primary obstacle to spending more time in the field: Access.

Outdoor Life's Open Country program aims to tackle that issue head on and with boots on the ground. The program highlights volunteer-driven efforts to improve access along with habitat improvements to make existing public lands even better places to hunt and fish. The program's goal is to substantially increase sportsman's access across the country by promoting events that make a difference.

Here on Open Country's blog page, contributors take a close look at access issues across the country. Some are public-policy discussions, where we investigate the nuances of public access. In other blogs, we shine a light on attempts to turn public recreation opportunities into private hunting and fishing domains. In still other blogs, we interview decision makers about access issues. Together, we fight for the ability of America's hunters and anglers to have a place to swing a gun or wet a line.

We promise the discussion is always lively, interesting, and fresh, so visit this page frequently to tune into the latest access issue.

The Open Country program culminates in grants and awards with top projects and participants being honored.

Submit a project for the Open Country Grant Award.
Nominate an individual for the Open Country Award.

Open Country



Event Calendar

  • June 1: Red Oak Planting in Gwinn Forest Management Unit
  • June 7: Pinegrass Restoration, Willamette River (Eugene, OR REMF Chapter). Contact.
  • June 7-8: Lower Deschutes River Thistle Cut (OR Foundation for North American Wild Sheep and OR Fish and Wildlife). Contact.
  • June 13-15: Prairie City Aspen Habitat Enhancement (Oregon Hunters Association, Capitol Chapter) Contact: 503-399-1234
  • June 21: Smith Ridge Meadows (Eugene, OR Chapter RMEF). Contact.

  • November 28, 2012

    U.S. Senate Kills Sportsmen's Act of 2012 Over $10 Duck Stamp Increase-18


    Ten bucks. That’s what killed the progressive, popular, good-government Sportsmen’s Act of 2012 yesterday.

    Ten bucks, or the increase of the cost of a federal duck stamp from $15 to $25.

    But that $10 created a partisan divide large enough to kill something that hunters and anglers have been asking for: congressional help to provide public access to public land, end the nonsense of lead-ammo restrictions, and allow a few polar bears to be liberated from their importation purgatory.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • November 13, 2012

    Must-Pass Legislation: Sportsmen’s Act of 2012-0


    One of the biggest bills in a generation comes up for a cloture vote in the U.S. Senate this Thursday. That means there must be 60 Senators who think that a bill widely praised by the NRA, Boone and Crockett Club, and just about every big sportsman’s organization should pass without bogging down in the time-tested stall tactics our elected officials like to engage in.

    We’ve covered the details of the Sportsmen’s Act of 2012 here before, but now that the election year frivolity is over, it’s time for Congress to get back to business. Before the Senate broke in October for some much-needed time away from lobbyists to campaign, the Senate voted on another procedural motion on this bill. The motion passed 84-12. That’s a commanding margin of victory for anyone who’s worked in the politics of outdoors recreation.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • November 9, 2012

    Arizona Rejects Sovereignty Proposal, Battle Over Federally-Owned Lands Continues Across West-3


    A couple of weeks back, I posted an Open Country blog about a ballot proposal in Arizona that would have amended the state's constitution to declare Arizona's sovereignty over the "air, water, public lands, minerals, wildlife and other natural resources within the state's boundaries" and lay claim to federally-owned lands in the state.

    Why? Proponents of the measure claim that the federal government is not properly managing the lands and that publicly-owned federal lands are a burden to the state. Opponents, of course, were concerned that state control of such lands, which included the Grand Canyon, would mean rampant development, mining and timbering. There was even talk of selling off some of the lands.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • November 5, 2012

    Vote for Your Right to Hunt and Fish -3


    Even though you're probably burned out on "and I approve this message" commercials and maybe less than enamored with either presidential candidate, there is still a critical reason to drop a ballot in the box tomorrow, especially if you live in Kentucky, Idaho, Nebraska, or Wyoming. Those four states are giving voters the chance to have the right to hunt and fish written into their constitutions.

    While there is no real threat of ban on hunting or fishing in those states, there's no language in the state constitutions to protect that right either. Thirteen other states already guarantee the right to hunt and fish with Vermont's amendment dating back to 1777.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • November 2, 2012

    Open Season on Access During Lame Duck Congress-0


    At 6,800 feet, I’m looking for sign of a legal bull on the broken ridge across the canyon in front of me. There are monsters in here. Heavy-antlered bulls, broad-shouldered wolves, and grizzly bears that can take out an NFL center in one swipe. It’s rugged, steep country jammed up against the backbone of the world. I’m hunting tiny islands of habitat swallowed by ridges of nothing but blowdown timber, ice, and mud. A friend looked at me the other day and said, “This is fun to you?”

    Yes, it is.

    I have a couple of recognitions on this deep-country elk hunt. First is the reminder that elk don’t like roads. Specifically, they don’t like you in your truck on roads. They run away, driving deeper into the muck and maze of rotten timber. Second, I’m happy to get away from election-season media. We are inundated with one angry, dishonest political ad after the other. Out here, it’s silent and peaceful.

    But after the general election on November 6 ends, we’ll still be immersed in political hi-jinx. It’s called the “lame-duck” session of Congress, the final hurrah for those voted out of office. A lot of nonsense happens in these lame-duck sessions, largely because many participants have nothing left to lose. 

    [ Read Full Post ]