Baucus, Tester working to protect hunting on public lands

Measure would support, promote and enhance Montana hunting opportunities

(Washington, D.C.) Montana’s U.S. Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester today joined ten other Senators in introducing the Hunting Heritage Protection Act, which aims to recognize the heritage of hunting and provide opportunities for continued hunting on federal public land.  Baucus and Tester are both members of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus. 

“Montanans are an outdoors people. We hike, we fish and we go hunting just about every chance we get,” Sen. Baucus said.  “This is about protecting the outdoor heritage that has defined Big Sky Country for generations, it’s about ensuring our children have a chance to teach their own kids to hunt, just like my dad taught me so many years ago.”

“This is a common sense bill that will protect access to Montana’s public lands,” said Tester, the Vice Chairman of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus. “We grow up knowing that the public lands in our backyards are open to hunting, fishing, and hiking and this will make sure that doesn’t change.”

“I would like to thank Senators Baucus and Tester for their leadership and commitment to preserving our hunting heritage in Montana – and all over America,” said Chris W. Cox, Executive Director of the National Rifle Association (NRA) Institute for Legislative Action.  “The Senators know how important hunting is to Montanans, and this is a vital step toward preserving our hunting heritage. Lack of access to hunting land is a major challenge hunters face and is also a major factor that causes many to give up hunting. This bi-partisan measure will make it easier for more people to enjoy this great American pastime.”

Specifically, the measure would require federal lands, to the maximum extent practicable, to be managed in a way that supports, promotes and enhances hunting opportunities.  The bill also calls on federal agencies managing federal lands to submit an annual report to Congress describing any limitation of access for hunting on federal lands.  Additionally, agencies would be required to submit prior written notification to Congress before any limitation affecting access to hunting on 5,000 acres or more becomes effective.

Over 13 million Americans participate in hunting activities in the United States today.  Hunting is also an environmentally beneficial activity and is an essential component of effective wildlife management.  U.S. Sens. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Mel Martinez (R-Fla.), David Vitter (R-La.), and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) are also cosponsors of the legislation.