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Mr. LATTA. I thank the gentleman.
Madam Chairman, I rise today in support of H.R. 4089, the Sportsmen's Heritage Act of 2012. This important legislation for sportsmen and -women protect their rights to hunt and fish while limiting restrictions in regards to these activities. As a lifelong hunter and Ohio hunter education instructor and current vice chairman of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus, these issues are not only important to me but to my constituents, as well as individuals across this Nation.
I strongly support H.R. 4089 and will discuss a provision of the bill relating to the importance of having access to public lands for our sportsmen and -women. This portion of the bill would ensure that Federal land management agencies, primarily the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management, act to protect and foster hunting, fishing, and shooting traditions on Federal public lands by directing these Federal agencies to exercise their land management discretion to facilitate sportsmen's and -women's activities.
One of my priorities has been to ensure our youth have the opportunities to access to become involved in hunting, fishing, and other shooting sports. One of the main reasons cited as to why sportsmen and -women stop participating in these activities is the limitation and access of land. By having more access to Federal lands, it helps current users and facilitates that next generation of hunters, anglers, and shooters.
In my home State of Ohio, only 3 percent of the land is publicly owned, whereas in some of our Western States, the majority of the land is publicly owned, as just mentioned by my friend. For example, in Nevada, approximately 80 percent of the land is Federal land, and in Wyoming, it's almost 50 percent. Again, if these lands in these States with large tracts of Federal lands are restricted, hunters and recreational fishermen and -women will not be able to participate in those outdoor activities. And, again, it will impede our youth from being able to participate in the future because, again, they rely on those adults to get them out.
I strongly urge my colleagues to support H.R. 4089, and I thank the gentleman.
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