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Friday, September 28, 2012

Hunting, Fishing, Recreational Shooting, and Other Wildlife Measures: S. 3525

M. Lynne Corn, Coordinator
Specialist in Natural Resources Policy

Eugene H. Buck
Specialist in Natural Resources Policy

Kristina Alexander
Legislative Attorney

The House and Senate have been considering various approaches to open more federal lands to hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting. S. 3525 addresses some of the same topics as H.R. 4089, which passed the House on April 17, 2012. Both concern hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting, but the bills take different approaches. While H.R. 4089 directs changes to federal land management and land planning, S. 3525 allows existing management to continue, requiring only that land managers assemble priority lists to improve access for those activities.

Several issues related to hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting are addressed in S. 3525. Hunting and conservation have been linked since the advent of federal wildlife legislation, such as the Lacey Act of 1900 (making it a federal crime to ship game killed in violation of one state’s laws to another state) or the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 (regulating the killing, hunting, buying, or selling of migratory birds). Even so, controversy exists about exactly what hunting, fishing, or shooting sports should be allowed on federal land, and when. A primary issue is whether opening more lands to hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting should be balanced against good game management, public safety, resource management, and the statutory purposes of the lands. S. 3525 focuses on providing additional physical access to federal lands where these activities are already allowed. This would be accomplished through acquisition of lands or rights of way.

S. 3525 would also expand or authorize certain sport fishing programs. In addition, it addresses the concerns of trophy hunters who killed polar bears in the months before the species was proposed for listing under the Endangered Species Act or between the proposal and the actual listing. These hunters have not been allowed to import their trophies; the bill would allow specified imports of these trophies.
It would support a program of regional working groups to conserve populations of migratory birds. It would amend the duck stamp program, to allow the Secretary of the Interior to increase the price of the stamp at specified intervals. Such a change, which would provide additional funding for acquisition of waterfowl habitat, has been advocated among hunters for several years. S. 3525 would make funding changes for some of these activities, and reauthorize a number of conservation programs, as well as expanding an existing program to control nutria, a marshland pest.

S. 3525 was not referred to a committee, and consequently lacks a committee report. It was placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders on September 11, 2012; on September 20, 2012, a cloture motion on the motion to proceed to the measure was presented in Senate.

Date of Report: September 21, 2012
Number of Pages: 16
Order Number: R42751
Price: $29.95

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