Sneak Peek at Critical Hunting, Fishing, Shooting Bill

Stay tuned over the next days for breaking news of federal legislation that could greatly improve where we fish, hunt, and shoot, the type of equipment we can use while doing it, and even the sorts of animals we can bring home.

Outdoor Life obtained a draft from the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance that outlines H.R. 4089, a package of four high-priority bills aimed at protecting hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting.

The most important part of this legislation is a resurrection of The Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage and Opportunities Act, which would guarantee that National Forest and Bureau of Land Management areas are open for hunting, fishing, and shooting unless closed out of necessity. It would reverse a set of previous judicial rulings that restrict hunting, fishing and shooting on these public lands.

Another facet of H.R. 4089 would protect recreational shooting on BLM National Monument land, reversing a ruling that currently bans target shooting in these areas.

H.R. 4089 would also keep the Environmental Protection Agency from banning lead in ammunition or sport fishing gear. For years activists groups (including some anti-hunting organizations) have filed lawsuits pushing the EPA to ban lead. The EPA has fought off their suits, but this legislation would make it clear that the EPA does not have the power to enact such a ban even if it wanted to. The push to ban lead ammunition has been growing stronger each year, but proponents of lead ammo argue that there is no good scientific evidence for banning it and also lead is the cheapest option. If lead ammunition is banned, many hunters and shooters might not be able to afford their sport. This new law could nip that lead ban push in the bud.

The final segment of H.R. 4089 would allow 41 polar bear trophies to be imported from Canada to the U.S. These bears were taken legally by hunters before the polar bear was listed as an endangered species but could not be brought into the U.S. after the listing occurred.

According to the Sportsmen's Alliance draft, H.R. 4089 will "be put on a fast track in the U.S. House of Representatives." So, check back on Newshound as we provide updates on this critical piece of legislation.