U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin has cosponsored the Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act of 2014. A comprehensive package of legislation put together by Senators Kay Hagen (D-NC) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), the bill includes policies to enhance opportunities for hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation; reauthorizes key conservation programs; and helps boost Wisconsin's outdoor recreation economy. The bill has over 45 cosponsors in the Senate.
"Wisconsin has a strong tradition of hunting, fishing and enjoying the great outdoors," said Baldwin. "I'm proud to support this bipartisan effort to protect these traditions for future generations while also making important investments that ensure Wisconsin's outdoor recreation industry continues to be an important economic driver in our state."
Outdoor recreation is an important economic driver in Wisconsin, supporting 142,300 jobs and contributing more than $11.9 billion annually to the state's economy.
According to the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation, lack of access to lands and waters for hunting and fishing is the primary reason hunters leave the sport. The Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act helps address this by including the Making Public Lands Public Act, which requires 1.5 percent of funding from the Land and Water Conservation fund to be dedicated to improving access to public lands for hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities.
Additional provisions in the Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act include:
· North American Wetlands Conservation Act Reauthorization. Over the last 20 years, this program has funded over 1,600 projects that conserved more than 20 million acres of wetlands in North America. NAWCA is cost-effective, with every dollar of federal funding traditionally generating three dollars in non-federal money.
· The Permanent Duck Stamp Act allows states to issue electronic duck stamps that enable hunters to participate in duck season while waiting for the physical stamp to arrive in the mail.
"This bill addresses some of the biggest issues facing sportsmen right now--access to public land and habitat protection. This is a win-win and we are proud that Senator Baldwin is supporting it," said Jeff Schinkten, President of Whitetails Unlimited. "Whitetails Unlimited stands behind this bill and it needs to be passed in order to protect our hunting heritage. If we start losing hunting access and habitat, our hunting opportunities are eroded."
The bill has the support of the following: American Sportfishing Association, Archery Trade Association, Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies, B.A.S.S. LLC, Boone & Crockett, Bowhunting Preservation Alliance, Campfire Club of America, Catch-A-Dream Foundation, Center for Coastal Conservation, Coastal Conservation Association, Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation, Conservation Force, Delta Waterfowl Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, Izaak Walton League of America, Masters of Foxhounds Association, Mule Deer Foundation, National Marine Manufacturers Association, National Shooting Sports Foundation, National Trappers Association, National Wild Turkey Federation, National Wildlife Federation, North American Bear Foundation, North American Grouse Partnership, Pheasants Forever, Pope and Young Club, Quail Forever, Quality Deer Management Association, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Ruffed Grouse Society, Safari Club International, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, The National Wildlife Federation, The Wilderness Society, Tread Lightly!, Trout Unlimited, United States Sportsmen's Alliance, Whitetails Unlimited, Wild Sheep Foundation, Wildlife Forever, Wildlife Management Institute.