A new bill to advance the interests of hunters, anglers, and recreational shooters was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. This bill makes a positive contribution to the cornucopia of sportsmen’s bills introduced in the House and Senate in recent years, all of which have gotten bogged down in political controversies and none of which have gone anywhere.
The Sportsmen’s Conservation and Outdoor Recreation Enhancement (SCORE) Act (HR 3171) would reauthorize federal programs critical to conservation, including:
- North American Wetlands Conservation Act, a cost-share program to protect and restore wetlands that has conserved 27 million acres of wetlands (and counting
- National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, which makes grants to support habitat conservation
- Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act, which funded priority conservation projects before it expired in 2011
- Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, which helps private landowners interested in conserving habitat for threatened and endangered species and other wildlife
- Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act, which provides matching grants for bird habitat conservation
The SCORE Act also includes a provision called “Making Public Lands Public” that would set aside 1.5 percent of the Land and Water Conservation Fund for providing public access to existing public lands. Access to public lands is a challenge in many places, and a lack of access to quality hunting and hiking grounds is a known deterrent to would-be outdoorsmen and women.
The SCORE Act was introduced by the leaders of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus: Representatives Tim Walz (D-MN), Rob Wittman (R-VA), Gene Green (D-TX), and Jeff Duncan (R-SC).