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posted in: General

November 27, 2012

Congressional Bickering Leaves Sportsmen in the Lurch

We called the Sportsmen’s Act easy to love for a reason. Until yesterday it appeared that a large majority of lawmakers in Congress agreed.

The bill recognizes the broad economic and social impacts of conservation, improves access for sportsmen and supports habitat conservation. It integrates 17 separate bills, including the Making Public Lands Public Access Act, the Permanent Electronic Duck Stamp Act and the Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act. It also would reauthorize the North American Wetlands Conservation Act and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

Yet the Sportsmen’s Act failed to garner enough support from Senators last night to pass a procedural vote, and thus its prospects of success remain uncertain at best.

Until yesterday’s Senate vote, the Sportsmen’s Act had passed all legislative hurdles with widespread support from both political parties – a rarity in such a divisive political environment. But somehow, even after Americans expressed strong distaste for partisan politics, dysfunctional gridlock returned to Congress.

With their backs up against the so-called fiscal cliff, elected officials from both sides of the aisle locked antlers again. American sportsmen are paying the price.

Hunters and anglers are experiencing the fallout from congressional inaction as access dwindles, development diminishes opportunities for sportsmen and funding for conservation disappears.

More than 91 million U.S. residents fished, hunted or wildlife watched in 2011 – that is more 25 percent of the U.S. population. From big-game hunters in Wyoming to carp fishermen in suburban lakes and everyone in between, we are a force to be reckoned with. And we vote.

A diverse alliance of powerful groups ranging from the National Rifle Association to The Nature Conservancy has joined forces in support of the Sportsmen’s Act. Together, in the spirit of Theodore Roosevelt, we will continue to stand up for sportsmen.

The TRCP and our partners are working with congressional leaders and members of the sporting community to form partnerships on the Hill and in the field that will benefit our sporting traditions for current and future generations.

In the coming days and weeks we will be asking for your voice in this fight. Be ready.

8 Responses to “Congressional Bickering Leaves Sportsmen in the Lurch”

  1. The fact is that 98% of Democrats supported the bill, and 98% of Republicans opposed it on a procedural point of order related to the duck stamp increase in the bill – a provision the NRA, hunting and angling community fully supported. Not a partisan shot – just factual representation of the vote which can be found on the link below.

    http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=112&session=2&vote=00204#position

    Yesterday’s vote will likely kill the bill this Congress. This is an astonishing turn of events considering 84% of all Senators supported moving the bill forward just 2 months ago.

    http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=112&session=2&vote=00200

  2. bnameless

    this is sad. makes one wonder if this would have passed with a different administration. as outdoorsmen we need to know better how to have a voice that will be listened to in keeping the outdoors available for what we believe in and the government out of the way in telling us how to best participate in one of this countries greatest assets.

  3. Matt Johnson

    Well I have to say I hunt and didn’t support this bill… I can’t believe you guys would.

    1. It makes it so that we can’t get lead banned in ammunition. So many people are waking up to this problem, it’s making kids/families/wildlife sick. The Minnesota Deer Hunters Association just released a story to this affect in the most recent copy of Whitetails… so yeah, this upsets people. What the hell are people thinking?

    2. Importing polar bear trophies after they’ve been banned? Dumb! How about we allow some illegal ivory to come into the country too in a special bill.

    So why not remove the controversial portions of it and pass the rest… that would be a win win for nature and hunters. The other two provisions are ignorant and of course they’re going to cause health and environmental groups to baulk at the bill.

    Let’s get the bill fixed TRCP and try again.

    Cheers from Minnesota,
    Matt

  4. Tom Johnson

    I have to agree with Matt on this one even after reading the newspaper correction to its article. The verbage you use to explain the lead ammunition issue has all the earmarks of an end run around public safety issues and the importation of 41 bear parts (taken before the ban on polar bear trophy importation) looks like a gimme to some special interest (maybe Ted Nugent). The duck stamp issue should have been a no brainer, but some members of congress have taken the “pledge” don’t you know. As written I would support it threw gritted teeth. Seems all the steps should be forward; not a bunch forward but a couple back for those “special” friends.

  5. Tom Kovalicky

    I am not unhappy with this failure to Pass…It is not a well though-out piece of Legislature for many Biological, economic, and social reasons…We can do better…Lets concentrate on what we can keep intact rather than tear apart……I would love to know who is in Charge of the environment for our Grandchildren. Todays Adults need to think about the next 7 generations, not just 2013 tom kovalicky, Grangeville, Idaho

  6. larry harbert

    ” Importing polar bear trophies after they’ve been banned? Dumb! How about we allow some illegal ivory to come into the country too in a special bill.”

    The polar bear trophies in question were taken PRIOR to the ban being enacted,importation was not allowed-all the bill would do is allow these trophies taken PRIOR to the ban to be imported.

    Your comments about lead from ammo making people sick is nothing more than misinformation-the Minnesota study was discredited long ago-how can you live in the state and NOT know this?
    Modern rifle ammo retains almost all of it’s original weight-most average over 90%,very few bullets do not pass through game-there are few to no bullet fragments left in game aninmals,and very,very rarely are there bullet fragments in gutpiles-all of this is nothing more than misinformatrion-a lot of it put out by the Center for Biologic Diversity to gain support for their continued efforts to ban lead ammo.

    • BarryvilleCastNBlast

      The lead issue is a complicated one, but it’s certainly not black or white. What about lead shot left in gut piles? Those are eventually consumed.

      Even wildlife that ingest lead split-shot and other lead fragments when consuming gravel and small rocks to aid in digestion.

      I don’t support an outright ban on all lead items simply because I don’t think it would work. Increasing taxes on lead products create too much backlash, rhetoric and distractions.

      If we want to resolve this issue, the industry needs to step up and hunters and anglers need to take personal responsibility and make the switch voluntary. The fishing alternatives are out there and they’re pretty darn cheap. As far as ammo goes, we need to think long and hard about how we can make non-toxic alternatives more affordable and more readily available.

      As far as this partisan bickering goes. I get politics. I get that these stand-offs happen, but can’t the GOP just agree with the Democrats for once on this one? There’s always blame to go around on both sides, but in this one instance- can’t we just come together and get it passed? Enough with this crap, get it done.

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posted in: General

November 21, 2012

Wednesday Win: Guess the TRCP’er

We’re throwing some vintage TRCP your way for this week’s Wednesday Win. Check out this blast from the past photo of one of our staffers, and see if you can guess who it is. If you need clues, visit our staff page for a comprehensive list of staff members and current photos. If you answer correctly, you could win a Gigantic Book of Hunting Stories.

Submit your answer via our Facebook page, email us at info@trcp.org or leave a comment on the TRCP Blog. Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, we will announce the winner on Monday, Nov. 26.

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posted in: General

November 19, 2012

Federal Farm Policy Writing Script for New Dust Bowl

Public Domain Photo.

Ken Burns new documentary, “The Dust Bowl,” depicts a full-blown ecological disaster, the likes of which never had been seen in America.

The dust storms that swept across Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas and other Great Plains states in the late 1920s and early 1930s were largely caused by the combination of drought and high winds on a landscape that had seen the near total conversion of native grasslands and wetlands to row crop production.

As I write this, similar conversions of native grasslands and wetlands are occurring alarmingly quickly. I have to wonder: Is federal farm policy helping write the script for a new Dust Bowl?

In the last several years, crop prices have steadily increased. As many of you know, corn and soybean prices hit a record high this summer. These high crop prices create immense pressure to convert marginally productive grasslands, wetlands and forestlands to row crops.

Federal crop insurance policy removes much of the risk associated with converting these marginal acres. Unlike every other federal farm program, crop insurance does not require farmers to be “conservation compliant.” This means that crop insurance benefits can be maintained even when farmers convert ecologically valuable wetlands, grasslands and till highly erodible lands.

How do we stop history from repeating itself? By passing a strong federal Farm Bill that includes measures addressing conservation compliance.

I can only hope that the black-and-white images of families living inside dusty houses with potato sacks over their heads will capture the attention of our elected officials tasked as they work toward passing the next farm bill. Or maybe the testimony of beautiful, old, wise faces telling of their parents’ mental breakdowns from the devastation catch the eye of members of the House Committee on Agriculture.

We can’t afford to let history repeat itself this time. Contact your member of Congress and ask him or her to take action on the Farm Bill and make sure that the conservation programs that have helped to prevent environmental calamities like the Dust Bowl are strengthened.

President of Sundog, Inc., a business development firm based in Fayetteville, Ark., that focuses on agriculture, alternative energy and green products, Tim Kizer is also the private lands field representative for the TRCP.


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posted in: General

November 14, 2012

Wednesday Win: T.R.ivia

Who was vice president of the U.S. during Theodore Roosevelt’s first term as president?

Photo courtesy of the Harvard College Library.

Send your answer to info@trcp.org or submit it on the TRCP Facebook page by Friday morning for your chance to win a TRCP hat.

 

 

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posted in: General

November 9, 2012

United We Stand: A Serviceman Reflects on Freedom, Family and the Outdoors

Sometimes you have to leave something behind to truly appreciate it.

I find I relearn that lesson each time I deploy to a foreign land. I miss my family and friends the most, as is expected. Thanks to technology I receive emails from home, discussing everything from kids to the change in seasons and excursions into the woods to hunt. I am grateful for these snippets of daily life because they make me appreciate how much freedom we have.

This Veterans Day, I am deployed once again on foreign soil in support of our national interests. I am proud to serve, but at the same time, I am thinking of home and longing to be with family.

Lieutenant Colonel G. Brent Cummings with his dog Tucker after a hunt for lesser prairie chicken in Kansas.

An image that comes to my mind when I think about home is stepping out into the cold morning with my loyal black Lab. I watch him excitedly chase some type of feathered creature that always seems to land just out of range or flush just a bit too low for a safe shot.

I can taste and feel the bite of cold as I take a deep breath and enjoy the fellowship of the hunt with a close friend as we map out the best strategy to move through a field or drop out decoys. So often we know our grand plan will fail, but simply being outside is the magic that makes the day.

Those memories represent the opportunity to share the moment outside, in a free country surrounded with the beauty of a magnificent landscape. Being deployed reminds me again how special that freedom is.

Enjoy Veterans Day and the freedom it represents. I support organizations such as the TRCP and other like-minded conservation groups. They are our guardians back home while we guard from afar. Because of their efforts, when I come home I have a place to hunt and fish. I encourage you to take the time to call your brother-in-law, uncle, friend or whoever you like to hunt with, and head out. Don’t worry whether you bag some game or not. Just enjoy the day afield and the freedom that has been earned.

I want to acknowledge how deeply grateful I am for the men and women who have served before me and laid the groundwork of freedom upon which I currently stand. Without their stewardship and professionalism, I wouldn’t have the freedom I cherish and expect as a U.S. citizen. In honor of Veterans Day, I encourage you to step outside with a friend or a family member and enjoy the freedom that has been granted to each of us.

Lieutenant Colonel G. Brent Cummings

United States, Army

Beginning in 2007, Lt. Col. Cummings served nearly 15 months in Iraq as part of the 2nd Surge Brigade with the 216th Infantry Brigade.  He then served as Commander of as the U.S. Army Airborne School at Ft. Benning.  He is currently deployed in the Middle East.

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