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Public Statements

Sportsmen's Heritage Act of 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. YOUNG of Alaska. I rise in opposition to the amendment.


Mr. YOUNG of Alaska. Mr. Chairman, I strongly oppose this amendment.

I am deeply surprised the gentleman from Michigan would, in fact, propose the amendment. He has one of these bears from his State, and a lot of hunters are not wealthy. This is a legal activity in Canada. They hunted these bears prior to 2008 and even prior to 2007. These are dead bears, and they are sitting in Canada. When the hunters hunted legally, the Canadian Government gave them the proper authority to do so, and it helped the native villages. Right now, there are more bears in Canada than there ever has been in history.

Hunting is a vital process of the management of game, and these people included two wounded veterans. They were in Iraq, in that heated area, and the one dream they had when they got back was to be able to go and hunt a polar bear. I can understand that. They shot their trophies legally and with the blessing of the Canadian Government and the local province, and then they expected to be able to return those bears, those hides--and yes, even sometimes the bodies--back home for the proper display of their hunts. To say now you can't import something when a bear was declared threatened by, yes, the Bush administration--and wrongfully so--the bears are not threatened. There are more bears now than there were in 1964. I'm probably the only individual on this floor who had ever shot a polar bear in '64, and I'm certainly not rich.

I am suggesting that this amendment is ill-placed, poorly thought out, and improper. I want those people who did things legally by the nation of our neighbors and blessed by the province to be able to bring those trophies back home, as they have the right to do. Yet the act of a Secretary of the Interior took that away from them arbitrarily.

I reserve the balance of my time.


Mr. YOUNG of Alaska. I am surprised by my good friend from California. He has a lot of polar bears in California. It's really amazing to me. He doesn't know squat about the population of polar bears. Then to imply that these are rich people who are going to hunt, now isn't that class warfare? It's exactly a Democrat position, the idea that now this is wrong when they did it legally. These bears weren't all killed in 2008, and they weren't all warned in 2008. I want to see the documentation of that. You know there's no documentation. That's the same propaganda you get out of the same groups of people that are anti-gun and anti-hunting.

Yes, step up to the plate. That's what you are. I know that. Yet to take that right away from an American citizen, especially from a wounded veteran--two of them--is wrong. It is wrong when this is legally taking species arbitrarily by a Secretary of the Interior who is saying now they're threatened. By the way, the administration does not oppose this bill. That's amazing. The Fish and Wildlife Service actually supports this bill now because we made some changes that they wanted, and we gave them, specifically recognizing that it does not encourage hunting.

I reserve the balance of my time.


Mr. YOUNG of Alaska. The gentleman from Virginia has lots of polar bears in Virginia. I know it's springtime, but I don't think there's many polar bears in Virginia.

It's strange that all three of them have said endangered species. This has nothing to do with endangered species. This is about marine mammals. Endangered species, in fact, are still imported to the United States. Hartmann's mountain zebras, yes; the African elephants, yes. We can still import those. This has to do with marine mammals.

I really can't understand because the government warns you--it's not against the law, but they warn you and you better follow it because we're warning you. That's not law. These people may have been notified there's a possibility, but they hunted under existing law, under existing permits and paid for. To take that away from them--I don't care if it's one person or 500 people or 41 people. When the law is followed and we don't follow through with it, then shame on us. These people did what was right, and legally. Now you're trying to take that right away from them.

I urge a strong resounding ``no'' on this amendment and vote for the people of America to have a right under the Constitution as long as they follow the law to do something that's correct and they've done that. They did everything by the law and to say now to have an amendment and say you don't have a right when they followed it correctly is shame on you.


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