Safari Club International’s Director of Government Affairs and Litigation, Anna Seidman, testified on September 12, 2017, before the Federal Lands Subcommittee of the House Committee on Natural Resources in support of the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act, or SHARE Act, H.R. 3668. Rep. Jeff Duncan of South Carolina introduced the bill on September 1, 2017. Three previous versions of the bill have passed the House since 2012, each with strong bipartisan support.
The SHARE Act, like its predecessors, combines several individual hunting, conservation, firearms and importation bills, collectively aimed at expanding and protecting opportunities for the 37 million Americans who hunt, fish, shoot and engage in sustainable-use conservation.
In particular, the bill includes several provisions intended to benefit our nation’s sportsmen and women by providing increased access to our public lands and waters and improving fish and wildlife management. For example, the bill includes a provision to codify an “open until closed” policy for hunter access on Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service lands. This language prevents the two agencies from closing lands to hunters, shooters and anglers without providing notice to the public and to Congress and without providing opportunities for the public to participate in the decision-making process.
Also included is language to provide relief for polar bear hunters with trophies trapped in Canada. This bill would help the more than 40 hunters who took polar bears in legal hunts in Canada just prior to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listing the polar bears as threatened and banning the importation of bears from Canada. The importation of these previously harvested bears would pose no harm to existing populations or the species as a whole and would benefit the species by providing $40,000 from import fees to be used exclusively towards polar bear research and conservation.
The SHARE Act also includes provisions to delist the Western Great Lakes wolf population; end unnecessary duplication of environmental analyses for the facilitation of hunting on National Wildlife Refuges; clarify that “wilderness purposes” may not override the underlying conservation or recreation purposes of lands designated as Wilderness and many other provisions to assist hunters.
Much of the hearing focused on several firearms-related sections of the bill, including one addressing regulated purchases of suppressors and another authorizing the transportation of firearms across state lines.
Also testifying at the SHARE Act hearing were David Chipman, an advisor at Americans for Responsible Solutions, attorney Stephen Halbrook and Christopher Sharon, COO of Hope for the Warriors. If you missed the hearing live, click here to watch the archived footage.