Please Sign In

Please enter a valid username and password
  • Log in with Facebook
» Not a member? Take a moment to register
» Forgot Username or Password

Why Register?
Signing up could earn you gear (click here to learn how)! It also keeps offensive content off our site.

Recent Comments

Categories

Recent Posts

Archives

  • December 18, 2012

    A Bold Plan to Save America's Backcountry

    By Hal Herring

    The wild red and yellow-rock canyon of the Yampa River appears beneath the little plane, the river shadowed and darkest green, the sandbars at the bends a deep maroon. North of the river is Dinosaur National Monument, and west the smoke and steam plumes of the Bonanza coal-fired power plant at Vernal, Utah. As we bank south towards the White River, we fly over a wild corrugated country of pinon and juniper, bitterbrush, mountain mahogany, and high plateaus of sagebrush and grass. The steep coulees are blanketed by aspen groves, leafless and stark in December against the bare earth. The Red Cliffs loom, Moosehead Mountain towers. This is Colorado’s Unit 10. It looks like spectacular elk country, and it is. The region is home to some of the biggest trophy bull elk in North America.

  • December 17, 2012

    Sportsmen Urged to Call About Farm Bill

    By Bob Marshall

    The Sportsmen’s Act may be heading to an unwarranted and unnecessary grave, but sportsmen still have something really important to fight for in the last weeks of this Congress: the Farm Bill.

    Conservation groups are asking hunters, anglers, and anyone else who cares about fish and wildlife to contact their congressional delegations and urge them to support passage of a bill that includes two essential features.

    The first would link full payment of crop insurance subsides to compliance with Sod Saver and Swamp Buster conservation measures in the Farm Bill. The second would make the new Sod Savers provision apply to all regions of the country.

  • December 11, 2012

    Lessons To Be Learned from the Demise of The Sportsmen's Act

    By Bob Marshall

    Advocates for The Sportsmen's Act of 2012 are publicly saying there's still a mathematical chance the legislation could find its way to the Senate floor next week. Privately, they're admitting it's time to get ready for The Sportsmen’s Act of 2013.

    So what can we learn from this sad chapter?

    First, the defeat of this bill is arguably the greatest legislative disappointment ever for sportsmen. I say that not just because of the important habitat conservation initiatives that will die or be postponed by the loss, but because of the way this defeat unfolded.

  • December 4, 2012

    Will The Senate Let The Sportsmen's Act Die?

    By Bob Marshall

    The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership today sent out a bulletin titled “Time Is Running Out for the Sportsmen’s Act.”

    Here's another bulletin I'd suggest for sportsmen and others who care about fish and wildlife habitat: “Time Should Be Running Out For Senators Who Put Political Revenge Over Sportsman's Interests.”
     
    There's no other way to report this. Last week the most important fish and wildlife conservation measure of the year - and many previous years - was torpedoed by GOP Senators who previously had supported The Sportsman's Act because of a heated debate with Democrats on an unrelated issue – proposed changes in the Senate filibuster rules.

  • November 30, 2012

    The Sportsman’s Act, Wetlands Protection, and Economic Ruin

    By Hal Herring

    I’m not going to write today about the U.S. Senators responsible for the recent stalling of the Sportsmen’s Act of 2012. What is most important in the blocking of the Sportsmen’s Act is the unpardonable ignorance it reveals. Included in the Sportsmen’s Act is the path to the reauthorization of NAWCA (North American Wetlands and Conservation Act), a program that provides matching funds to groups working to preserve and restore wetlands across North America.

    Yes, in 1989, when NAWCA was created by an act of Congress, it was intended primarily to boost populations of waterfowl and other wildlife. But since then, as the Federal Flood Insurance Program has sucked away and squandered billions of taxpayer dollars, and as Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy and the 2011 floods have proved, wetlands and floodplains are NOT about ducks and geese. Ruined wetlands and floodplains are about economics and deficits and man-made disasters. Wildlife and the hunting heritage, and wild, beautiful days on the marsh or in the blind with friends and family and abundant waterfowl above us are the interest on the principle of protected and restored wetlands. Destroying wetlands, channelizing creeks, draining swamps to plant more corn for ethanol, or to feed the earth’s insatiable billions of people, destroys the principle. Just as you can take an inheritance or a windfall stack of money and, instead of investing it, blow it on lottery tickets and cigarettes and groceries (new guns are excluded), you can destroy the economic principle of the planet.

  • November 28, 2012

    Sportsmen Stunned by Move Against Sportsmen's Act

    By Bob Marshall

    It’s unlikely that Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), a staunch conservative, takes direction from The New York Times editorial page. So sportsmen can’t use that newspaper’s error-laden editorial last week opposing The Sportsmen’s Act of 2012 as the reason the Alabama lawmaker stunned sportsmen’s groups Monday by using a procedural vote to deliver what is a likely a knock-out blow to a bill that had been coveted by the nation’s hunters, anglers and sport shooters.
     
    The bill’s key features include reauthorizing the North American Wetland Conservation Act (NAWCA); using 1.5 percent of Land and Water Conservation Fund appropriations for purchasing access to public lands from willing private sellers, helping give sportsmen access to additional 35 million acres of public property; allowing more funding from the Pittman-Robertson Act for development and operation of public shooting ranges; allowing the sale of federal duck stamps electronically; raising the price of duck stamps from $15 to $25 - and giving the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in conjunction with an independent panel, the ability to make future increases.

  • November 27, 2012

    New York Times Blunder Puts Sportsmen and Habitat at Risk

    By Bob Marshall

    There are many reasons why The New York Times is arguably considered the finest news organization in the nation, but few of those were on display last week when the paper’s editorial board decided to weigh in on The Sportsmen’s Act of 2012, an important conservation initiative that would help fish, wildlife, and all Americans.

    First the board opposed the bill for a list of erroneous reasons--then, when informed of the mistakes, it botched the corrections, leaving serious misconceptions floating about the bill as well as the sportsmen’s conservation movement.

    I realize that surveys show most sportsmen say they’re politically conservative, and that they believe most liberals don’t understand them. I also know most conservatives love to hate the NYT the way most progressives and liberals love to despise The Wall Street Journal. But the story that unfolds here should be seen not just as an opportunity to confirm your worst suspicions, but also as a lesson on why sportsmen who care about the future of fish and wildlife habitat--and human health--should broaden their reading (and writing) horizons.

  • November 21, 2012

    New Reports Show Why Fish and Wildlife Protections Should Not be Compromised

    By Bob Marshall

    The facts keep coming in on the debate between energy development vs. fish and wildlife protections--and the argument for protections keeps scoring points.

    By now, sportsmen, like most Americans, have heard the argument that we must drill-now-and-drill-everywhere because we need to help the struggling economy by lowering the price of gas, and to protect America's national security by making her energy independent.

    Well, last month you read about the non-partisan economic studies clearly showing (once again) that more oil production in the U.S. would have little impact on the price of gas at the pump. That's because oil is sold on the world market, which the U.S. has little control over.

    Now come two more reports supporting the argument to protect fish and wildlife. 

  • November 16, 2012

    Conservation Initiatives Pass in a Landslide Across the U.S.

    By Hal Herring

    The summer I got my first driver’s license, I spent a lot of days fishing alone on Alabama’s Paint Rock River. I’d leave our house before dawn and drive east and north up the Paint Rock Valley, park at one of the old fords and wade-fish upstream, catching rock bass, shellcrackers, largemouths, once in a while a smallmouth, which was as exotic to me as a sailfish. Midmorning, heat rising fast, cicadas yelling in every tree, I’d go downstream to where the river was bigger, tie up a bottom rig and cast nightcrawlers or catalpa worms (we called them “tobby worms”) for channel cats, river drum, redhorse, whatever came by.

    That river was pure adventure to me, clean, born of subterranean streams and highland creeks that lay unseen in the emerald jungle of hardwoods that covered the low mountains on either side of the valley. It took me awhile to work my way north to the Paint Rock’s headwaters in the Walls of Jericho, that dramatic and isolated canyon system, with its caves and ether-clear water and perfect plunge pools for swimming, the bizarrely-colored darters and sculpins flitting among the smooth rocks of the creek bed.

    Not long after I began to explore the Walls, the road in was closed. Mud bogging and hillclimbing in the big 4WD pickups with the then-popular Co-Op Grip-Spur tires (yes, my friends and I were a part of that problem) had made the old trail impassable and littered with beer cans and even a busted truck or two. For the next 15 years or so, the Walls were inaccessible, and the mountain land that surrounded the canyons changed hands among paper and timber companies more than once. It was one of the natural wonders of the South, the forested headwaters of one of the most biologically rich rivers left on the planet, and very few people even knew it existed.

  • November 14, 2012

    Senate Could Vote on Sportsmen's Act This Week

    By Bob Marshall

    The first hint of what the election meant to sportsmen could come when the lame-duck session of the Senate is scheduled to vote on Sen. John Tester's (D-MT) Sportsmen’s Act (S. 3525) late this week. An amalgamation of numerous other bills that made their way through Congress this year, the key features of Tester's measure include:

    * Reauthorizing the North American Wetland Conservation Act (NAWCA), the legislation responsible for most wetlands conservation work in the U.S. and Canada over the last 25 years. NAWCA was previously zeroed-out of the GOP's House budget.

    * Using 1.5 percent of Land and Water Conservation Fund appropriations for purchasing access to public lands from willing private sellers, helping give sportsmen access to additional 35 million acres of public property.