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Spring gobbler season opens; outdoors legislation updates

Well the spring turkey season opened with an unwelcome downpour. I hope you got your bird before you got soaked. The rains sure made it quiet in the woods. One thing I've learned over the years is that when it is raining, the turkeys like to take to the fields. It seems their survival instinct tells them that the predators have a good chance of sneaking up on them in the quiet, wet woods. So they take to assembling in the fields feeding and displaying there. With their near 360-degree vision, they are not as easy a target for foxes and coyotes when they are in the open. Well, we've got the whole month ahead of us and surely some nice, warm, sunny days afield.


A few reports on the legislative front. First, out of Washington, DC, as reported last week, the most significant pro-sportsmen’s legislation of the past 15 years is now in the U.S. Senate. The bill is now in the Senate Natural Resources Committee. Neither Sens. Gillibrand or Schumer sit on this committee. But it is still imperative that you contact the committee office and let them know that you are behind passage of the Sportsman's Heritage Act of 2012 that addresses top priority issues of the sportsmen’s community. Let them know that the bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives with bipartisan support on Tuesday, April 17 by a vote of 274-14. The contact address is Energy and Natural Resources Committee Office, 304 Dirksen Senate Building Washington, DC 20510. Phone–(202) 224-4971 and fax–(202) 224-6163

A major focus of the organizations that helped craft H.R. 4089 is to prevent frivolous lawsuits that unfairly restrict the rights of hunters, anglers and shooters and limit wildlife conservation and management. Over the last decade anti-hunting groups and their trial lawyers have filed multiple suits in courts arguing that existing federal law does not allow, or requires restrictions on fishing, hunting, and shooting on federal public lands. Defending against these suits has cost state and federal wildlife agencies and sportsmen’s organizations millions of dollars. H.R. 4089 declares that federal BLM and Forest Service lands, which total over 700 million acres, be declared legally open to fishing, hunting, and shooting unless closed by specific agency action.

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