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Is the Sportsmen's Act Doomed? Ask your Senator

September 28, 2012

Last week, the Sportsmen’s Act of 2012 came up for a vote on Unanimous Consent. For those of us who don’t spend our lives glued to C-Span or reading the Congressional Record, that means that a vote was held to pass a piece of legislation out of the Senate without going through a bunch of committees and other folderol.Under the rules of the Senate, all 100 Senators needed to vote yes in order to move this bill forward. Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) stood up and said no. Unfortunately, election-year politics sunk the timely passage of this bill. The Sportsmen’s Act of 2012 is a kind of “best of” mix tape of bills and reauthorizations of conservation programs that were penned by Republicans and Democrats alike.

1 | 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.

  • September 14, 2012

    Official GOP Platform: Sell America's Public Land-20


    I’m a public-land junky, and I’m proud of it. I hunt both private and public lands, but the public ground is special, no matter how crowded it might seem at times. Public land has been one of the greatest gifts this country has given to hunters and anglers. It’s also the legacy of conservation started by Theodore Roosevelt. TR created what became the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service. His far-sighted vision has ensured that places like the Roan Plateau, Boundary Waters, and Bob Marshall remain as they have been since humans started making trails in them.

    I value the jobs created by public lands, and the lifestyle that rural Americans enjoy due in large part to access to this great legacy. I value the wildlife and the amazing hunting and fishing opportunities I am afforded because of these public lands.

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • September 10, 2012

    The Cost of Lost Land Access-0


    Archery season is in full swing throughout the West. This time of year I curse my love of fine walnut and blued steel over compound bows. To be sure, I lose six weeks of hunting opportunity here in Montana by not picking up a bow and chasing elk during the rut. One day though, hopefully soon, I’ll take up the challenge.

    Archery season is also when we start to hear more and more about lost access to public lands. That’s no different this year. Recently, Southwick and Associates, a firm that specializes in measuring participation in and attitudes toward hunting, angling, and the shooting sports, released a survey that showed 23% of America’s hunters and anglers have lost access over the last year. The report is eerily similar to what I’ve heard throughout Montana when it comes to decreased access for hunters and anglers:

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • September 6, 2012

    Are Wolves Big Game Animals or Varmints?-33


    It is the year of wolf. Or so it seems.

    Earlier this year, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota saw their wolf populations delisted.

    That those states would have a wolf hunting and/or trapping season has never been in question for many residents. It’s simply been a matter of when. Idaho and Montana adopted wolf seasons soon after the animals were delisted there. Minnesota added a wolf hunt just weeks after its population was delisted in January.

    Wyoming, however, is at the head of the delisted-to-hunted train.  Wyoming’s wolf population is expected to be delisted on Sept. 30. Wyoming’s new wolf season would open the next day.

    [ Read Full Post ]