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Chambliss-Baucus introduce bipartisan measure to protect hunting on public lands

U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss, R-GA, Ranking Republican Member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and U.S. Senator Max Baucus, D-MT, a senior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, June 25 announced they have introduced the Hunting Heritage Protection Act, which aims to recognize the heritage of hunting and provide opportunities for continued hunting on federal public land. The Senators also cosponsored a similar measure in previous congresses and are members of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus.

"This legislation simply seeks to protect the rights of sportsmen to hunt on federal public lands all across America," said Sen. Chambliss. "Hunting is truly an American tradition and a key component to our conservation and wildlife management practices. By maintaining designated levels of federal land for hunting, we are affording thousands of men, woman, boys and girls the opportunity to enjoy this great American pastime."

"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 vital step toward preserving America's hunting heritage," said Chris W. Cox, Executive Director of the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action. "Lack of access to hunting land is a major challenge our hunters face and is also a major factor that causes many to give up hunting. This bipartisan 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.

More than 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.

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