Safari Club International and its members congratulate the House Committee on Natural Resources for passing HR 3668, the Sportsmen’s Heritage & Recreational Enhancement Act—more commonly known as the “SHARE Act.” The committee marked up and approved the bill by a vote of 22 to 13. Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) formally introduced the bill in the House on September 1, 2017. The bill is also sponsored by Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA); Rep. Robert J. Whittman (R-VA); and Rep. John R. Carter (R-TX). The bill picked up bipartisan sponsorship from Rep. Gene Green (D-TX).
The SHARE Act, like its predecessors, combines several individual hunting, conservation, firearms and importation bills, collectively aimed at expanding and protecting opportunities for the 37 million Americans who hunt, fish, shoot and engage in sustainable-use conservation.
Today’s vote follows a hearing yesterday on the bill by the committee’s Federal Lands subcommittee at which SCI’s Director of Government Affairs & Director of Litigation, Anna Seidman, appeared as a witness. Ms. Seidman’s testimony on behalf of SCI continually reinforced the important role of states in wildlife management, including on federal lands, and the need to remove bureaucratic and judicial barriers to proper wildlife conservation. For example, Ms. Seidman explained how Title 14 of the SHARE Act directs the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to reissue a rule to delist gray wolf populations. In her testimony yesterday, Ms. Seidman explained that “Title 14 will take wolf recovery and delisting out of the hands of the courts and will return wolf management and conservation to the states, where they belong.”
The SHARE Act includes multiple provisions to improve hunter access on federal lands including requiring U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management lands to be “open until closed” for recreational hunting, fishing and shooting. “As a nation,” Ms. Seidman testified, “we must encourage all Americans, and in particular young people and urban residents, to increase their participation in wildlife-oriented recreation, including hunting, shooting and fishing.”
Also included in the SHARE Act are provisions to allocate Pittman-Robertson Act funding to increase and expand shooting ranges on federal lands; authorize the transportation of bows across National Park Service lands; and protect the transportation between states of firearms or ammunition. The bill also allows the importation of over 40 polar bears legally harvested in Canada but prohibited from importation into the U.S. as a result of a threatened species listing in 2008. This provision has been in all four versions of the SHARE Act dating back to 2012.