A Detailed Look At How The Conservation, Management And Recreation Act Helps the Future of Hunting

S.47 is a big win for Hunters

Over the last three days, I have been pouring over S.47 also known as the John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act. This is one of the biggest conservation bills of my lifetime. Reading legislation is time-consuming and many times very confusing.With all that said, I will do my best to detail just how this bill will affect hunters across our country.

Sec. 4102 starts off by stating Federal land shall be open to hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting in accordance with applicable law unless the Secretary of the Interior closes an area in accordance with section 4103. In other words, public land is open to hunting unless closed.

The next section puts major restrictions on all future administrations. They just can not close land to hunting, fishing or shooting arbitrarily. There is an extensive process they have to go through.

The bill makes it harder to close public land to hunting.

Sec 4103 lays out all the requirements future administrations will need to adhere to before closing public land to hunting, fishing, or shooting.

  1. They are required to designate the smallest area for the least amount of time for public safety.
  2. They must consult with the State fish and wildlife agencies
  3. They provide public notice (This notice must be published on multiple different agency websites and at least one local newspaper The notice must including intent and reason for the closer.)
  4. They must provide an opportunity for comment.

The final decision for a closer is where I think hunters really win big. The agencies involved must respond in a “reasonable manner” to the comments received. Explaining how any significant issues raised by the comments are being resolved. Finally they must show how the resolution led to any closure.

This may sound vague, but here is why it helps hunters. Think about how Anti-hunting groups use The Endangered Species Act. They have used it to keep wolves and grizzly bears from being hunted. They can do this because of the vague wording of the ESA. They sue until they find a judge that is sympathetic and rules that the game agencies have not met all of the vague requirements, so wolves or grizzly remain. This same tactic should work in favor of hunter and anglers to keep public land from being closed to hunting and fishing.

We are all public land owners and we need to keep it public.

This bill provides a guarrenty that public land is open unless closed, and it makes a lot of protections to the current and future administrations that they will have to deal with before closing public lands to hunters. It is a big win for the future of hunting in our country.

The only real critism I have with this section of the bill is that this bill does not open new land to hunt. It only protects what we currently have. Personally, I wish it opened more, but protecting what we have is very important.

I will be writing an in depth look into other aspects of this bill including the LWCF, public land boundaries, new wilderness areas, and the Trump factor. To read these follow up pieces be sure to follow The Hunting News on Facebook.