Big things often times have small beginnings. What started out as a discussion in a University of Montana law class has led to a big event in the Montana Legislature: An Access Rally in support of HB 235 on Monday, February 18th, starting at 2 p.m. at the Montana State Capitol in Helena.
This session though, there’s something different. A most unlikely pair of legislators has teamed up to solve the complex issue of corner crossing. House Bill 235, co-sponsored by liberal Missoula representative Ellie Hill and Tea Party firebrand Kreyton Kerns of Laurel, would finally put to rest the question of whether or not hunters and recreationists can access public lands by crossing the corner where those lands intersect.
Ten bills were introduced on the first day of the 113th Congressional session that deal with firearms.
There must be something strange in Utah water. The powers that be seem to have some problems with public land, especially land the public actually likes to use.
Ten bucks. That’s what killed the progressive, popular, good-government Sportsmen’s Act of 2012 today.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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