The bill was a compilation of 19 bipartisan bills important to the sportsmen's community to support public-land access for hunters and anglers as well as conservation of habitat and wildlife. The bill focuses on two issues important to DU and our members: 1) habitat conservation and; 2) increasing access for hunting.
Several of the hunting and fishing bills included in this legislation have passed the House of Representatives on a bipartisan basis as part of H.R. 4089, which DU also strongly supported.
- Nearly 35 million acres of existing public land have no or restricted access. Sportsmen cite the loss of access as the number one reason they quit hunting or fishing.
- The bill continues critical habitat investment programs which are, or have expired, including NAWCA, Partners for Fish and Wildlife, and Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act. These programs all leverage four dollars of private investment for each dollar from the program.
- This bill reauthorizes Federal Lands Transaction Facilitation Act, which uses a "land for land" approach to improve access.
- It also creates a 1.5 percent set aside from LWCF to specifically address access issues by purchasing inholdings in existing public lands and securing easements to access-restricted acreage.
- Sportsmen and women are significant financial contributors to habitat conservation. Since 1934, funds raised from the Duck Stamp have conserved 5 million acres of wetland habitat. Ninety-eight cents of every dollar go directly to conserving wetlands. This bill allows the Secretary of Interior to permanently offer an electronic duck stamp and to reevaluate the price of the Duck Stamp every three years, assuring the stamp price can match inflation. The price of the stamp was last raised in 1991 to $15. In the meantime, land prices have skyrocketed, and the acreage purchased with funds from stamp sales has been decreasing.
- This bill will have no cost to the taxpayers; it doesn't score under Congressional budget rules.
- According to the Western Governors' Association, outdoor recreation contributed $646 billion in direct spending to the U.S. economy in 2011.
- Outdoor recreation supports 2.3 million jobs throughout the Western U.S. alone, with nearly $110 billion in payroll.
More than 56 national conservation and wildlife groups supported the bill (see list below).
- American Fisheries Society
- American Fly Fishing Trade Association
- American Sportfishing Association
- Archery Trade Association
- Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies
- B.A.S.S., LLC
- Berkley Conservation Institute
- Boone and Crockett Club
- Bowhunting Preservation Alliance
- Campfire Club of America
- Catch-A-Dream Foundation
- Center for Costal Conservation
- Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation
- Conservation Force
- Costal Conservation Association
- Dallas Safari Club
- Delta Waterfowl Foundation
- Ducks Unlimited
- Houston Safari Club
- Isaac Walton League
- International Game Fish Association
- Mule Deer Foundation
- National Marine Manufacturers Association
- National Rifle Association
- National Wildlife Refuge Association
- National Wildlife Federation
- National Shooting Sports Foundation
- National Trappers Association
- National Wild Turkey Federation
- North American Bear Foundation
- North American Grouse Partnership
- Orion – the Hunter's Institute
- Pheasants Forever
- Pope and Young Club
- Public Lands Foundation
- Quail Forever
- Quality Deer Management Association
- Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
- Ruffed Grouse Society
- Shimano Sport Fisheries Initiative
- Texas Wildlife Association
- The Conservation Fund
- The Nature Conservancy
- Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership
- Trout Unlimited
- Trust for Public Lands
- U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance
- Wild Sheep Foundation
- The Wilderness Society
- Wildlife Forever
- Wildlife Management Institute