U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) have introduced the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2015.The Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2015 is a package of pro-sportsmen’s legislation designed to safeguard and promote America’s hunting and fishing traditions and to enhance the role of hunters, anglers and shooters as America’s preeminent supporters of wildlife conservation. In keeping with a longstanding tradition of bipartisanship on sportsmen’s issues, the legislation enjoys strong support from both sides of the political aisle.
“The Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2015 is made up of several bills that will help ensure our outdoor traditions are preserved, protected and promoted, said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel. This legislation addresses some of the top concerns of American hunters and recreational shooters. Its passage would be a significant accomplishment for the sportsmen’s community and for America. We are grateful to Senators Murkowski and Heinrich for their bipartisan leadership on this important legislation and are looking forward to passage early in the 114th Congress.”
Priorities addressed in the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act include: protecting the traditional use of lead ammunition and fishing tackle by American hunters and anglers, the removal of impediments to the use of Pittman-Robertson funds for shooting ranges and a significant number of provisions to enhance and expand hunting, shooting and fishing access on lands administered by the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture. Let’s hope this one makes it through both houses of Congress and arrives on the President’s desk where he will sign it into law.
Hard to believe but it’s about time to warn folks about interaction with bears. There has already been a sighting in Maggie Valley and many of you may have read about the lady killed by black bears on the east coast. There is one key to avoiding encounters with black bears: food. First and foremost, never feed a black bear — intentionally or unintentionally. Bears are opportunistic feeders and will eat just about anything. Bears are particularly attracted to human garbage, pet food, and other human-associated foods, like bird seed. For this reason, if a bear is in the area, people should remove bird feeders and hummingbird feeders, even those advertised as “bear proof.”
It’s time to start thinking about spring turkey season. For many folks that means Hunter Education training. We’ve had several folks come into the store looking for classes after the winter hiatus. The next class in our area is Feb 23-24, Monday-Tuesday, from 6 – 9:00 p.m. at Skyland Fire Department. The next after than is March 10 – 11 same time at Haywood Community College. After that it is March 18 – 19 at Madison County Cooperative Extension Office in Marshall. You can sign up for any of these courses at www.ncwildlife.org. Click on the Hunting icon at the top and Hunter Education in middle of the page.
The Haywood County Commissioners recently passed a resolution in favor of active management of the Pisgah National Forest and against any additionally designated Wilderness Areas. Basically they are supporting the current draft plan as proposed by the Forest Service. By my count that is a total of six County Commissions in Western North Carolina that have passed resolutions in favor of the current forest plan and against further Wilderness designation. Environmentalists, do you get the message?
The N.C. General Assembly recently held Legislative Week in Raleigh to kick off the new legislative session. Interest groups were welcome to meet legislators and express their interest in important issues. Hunters were well represented at the events and several legislators spoke to them about the most important issue we face: Sunday Hunting. It appears a Bill has already been drafted for Committee discussion with several legislators supporting and sponsoring. Let’s hope they do the right thing for this very important constituency.