After an extremely dirty and nasty election cycle we have a winner.
Donald Trump will be our next president and the Republicans will continue to control both houses of congress. State elections fell the same way, Republicans control more governorships and state legislatures then at any other time in our countries history. In other words the Republicans dominated this election.
So what does that mean for sportsmen? Basically, however the election turned out sportsmen would have an uphill battle to fight. Now that we know who won we know where to concentrate our efforts. The two main issues were gun control and transfer of public land.
Republican have always been supportive of the second amendment. So I would imagine that most gun control legislation will be off the table for the foreseeable future. There has even been rumors of nationalizing concealed weapons permits and removing the tax stamp requirements from suppressors, but we will see if that comes to fruition.
Our guns are safe, but that does not mean we can relax. The Republican Party is not completely sportsmen friendly. At their presidential convention this year they added a plank to their platform that called for the transfer of federal land to the states. This would be devastating to hunter access, which would lead to a decline in hunter recruitment.
To show how real this issue is just a week after the election the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources met to consider HR 866 and HR 1484. H.R. 866 would transfer oversight of energy resources on public lands to individual states and H.R. 1484 would transfer public lands located in Nevada to state ownership. This is the first of probably many legislative actions that will threaten our heritage as hunters.
Backcountry Hunters and Anglers President and CEO Land Tawney issued the following statement:
“Following last week’s election, members of Congress beholden to special interests have wasted no time in promoting legislation that would exploit and seize our public lands and waters,” said Tawney. “Sportsmen and women will not stand idly by while those who want to privatize our heritage try and advance their agenda. These bills not only are an assault on our unique American birthright; they also would result in the direct loss of public access and opportunities for hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation – as well as the economic juggernaut that goes with them. The $646 billion annually generated by outdoor recreation must not be ignored.”
All Hunters need to get involved and tell their representative to keep their hands off of our land. Public lands sportsman and TV personality Randy Newberg urged sportsmen to unite in opposition of the bills, H.R. 1484 in particular, stating. “A week after the election and today Congress holds a hearing on a bill that would steal our public lands. H.R. 1484 would transfer ownership of millions of acres of our lands – lands currently open to hunting and recreation – to the state of Nevada, the state with the worst track record of all states when it comes to selling their lands to political pals. Public lands advocates need to contact their members of Congress and tell them this is unacceptable.”
In the end it will all come down to President Trump. Will he be a friend or foe to hunters? It is hard to say. He is already walking back some of his rhetoric on immigration and other issues, so it remains to be seen whether he will stick to his word when it comes to campaign promises he made to outdoors men and women. But what we do know is that both of his sons are avid hunters and anglers and will hopefully have their father’s ear when it comes to outdoor issues.
Sportsmen and women now more than ever need to get involved. Our hunting heritage is at stake. It will not fall in one fowl swoop, but will die the death of 1000 cuts, if we remain idol.
or more information and how to get involved Check out Backcountry Hunters and Anglers HERE