“History shows conservation happens when and where hunting and fishing are allowed-this amendment, if enacted, will provide better access to our national forests and BLM lands for hunting and fishing, and will protect many critical elements of the hunting experience. It is a homerun for hunters and we will work to get it enacted into law,” said Ben Wallace, president of Boone and Crockett Club.
For the 32 million American hunters, anglers and recreational shooters, federal public lands are increasingly vital to their participation in outdoor sports. Nearly half of all hunters, for example, conduct a portion of their hunting activity on public lands. Reduced access is cited as a primary reason that hunters, anglers and target shooters stop participating in these traditional sports. A 2004 report to the U.S. House Committee On Appropriations concluded that more than 35 million acres of Forest Service and BLM lands have inadequate access. Specifically, nearly 2 million acres (10 percent) of Forest Service lands in Montana and 8.4 million acres (29 percent) of BLM lands in the Montana/Dakotas region were identified as having inadequate access.
Sportsmen and women make important contributions to both wildlife conservation and the nation’s economy. The hunting and shooting sports industries create over 160,000 full-time jobs nationwide, generating an economic benefit of over $20 billion annually.