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(Columbus) Legislation to ban bear hunting with bait on federal land has been introduced in Congress. Sportsmen are organizing to stop the bill and have sent a letter to members of Congress that condemns any attempt to ban bear hunting with bait.

The bill, HR 1472, was introduced by Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA).

Ten states permit the practice. Those state's wildlife agencies say that baiting is an effective and necessary management tool for controlling bear numbers. Moran wants to take that option away.

"The bill is a huge threat to hunting and wildlife management programs across the country," explained Rob Sexton, the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance's vice president for government affairs. "Such a dictate from Washington to the states sets a very dangerous precedent that could affect the every state wildlife agency. Moran's bill opens the door for federal management of all wildlife."

Anticipating introduction of the bill, the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance for months has been working with several key sportsmen's groups to create the National Bear Hunting Defense Task Force. Task Force members include Michigan Bear Hunters Association, Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, Upper Peninsula Bear Houndsmen, Arkansas Bowhunters Association, Bear Hunting Magazine, Eastern Idaho Houndsmen Association, Michigan Bow Hunters Association, Michigan Hunting Dog Federation, Minnesota Bowhunters, Inc., North American Bear Hunter's Alliance, North Carolina Bear Hunters Association, New Hampshire Bear Hunters Association, Virginia Bear Hunters Association, and the Wisconsin Bowhunters Association.

While Moran's bill faces an uncertain future in the House Resources Committee, the Task Force believes that he will try to insert a last minute amendment into an appropriations or other bill. He is known for utilizing this tactic. In 1999, for instance, he sponsored an amendment to the Interior appropriations bill that nearly banned trapping in the National Wildlife Refuge system.

In an effort to derail the amendment, the Task Force has sent a letter to the House Subcommittee on Interior Appropriations asking that its members oppose all of Moran's attempts to ban bear hunting.

William Horn, director of federal affairs for the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance told the subcommittee members, "The Task Force strongly supports the authority of the states to make their own judgments about their own wildlife populations and recreation. We strongly urge you and the subcommittee to resist any such preemption of state authority."

The bill and any possible amendment will be closely monitored by the Task Force throughout the year. More members are also being sought to help share the load.

"Although the Task Force has been greatly received, more help is needed to provide grass roots support and funding to fight H.R. 1472," Sexton added.

The U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance is supplying coordination, funding and lobbying services, while other Task Force members are providing grassroots resources and funding to pay for mailings into targeted congressional districts.

For more information about how to join the Bear Hunting Defense Task Force, contact the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance at 614-888-4868 or [email protected].

The U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance protects the rights of hunters, anglers and trappers nationally in the courts, legislatures, at the ballot, in Congress and through public education programs. For more information about the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance and its work, call (614) 888-4868 or visit its website, www.ussportsmen.org.
 

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We have had these discussions on this site before, but divide and conquer is a strategy that PETA and the other anti-hunting groups are using and using somewhat successfully.

Examples of attempts include
Ban cougar hunting in California passed
Ban waterfowl hunting (using cripples as an excuse) in Canada
Ban Bear Baiting on Federal land
Ban Trapping
Ban spring bear hunting in Ontario passed
Ban all hunting on refuges and other public land

They pick on areas that are fringe hunting. Most hunters do not participate so they may not care what happens.

Hunters should probably take the NRA stance (radical - but I guess it is effective). NRA fights all legislation regarding gun control - even if it represents the interests of just a few in their ranks. Zero ground lost is their goal.

Hunters should fight this legislation even thought they do not participate in this activity.

Unfortunately - hunters really do not have a single voice like the NRA. Is the United Sportsmans Alliance already a large effect group ?
 
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