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HUNT Act: New Bill to Increase Hunting and Fishing Access on Public Lands

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September 26, 2013

HUNT Act: New Bill to Increase Hunting and Fishing Access on Public Lands

By Ben Romans

U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM) reintroduced a bill today, that, if signed into law, will allow increased access for hunters and fishermen on federal public lands. The bill directs federal agencies to inventory all public lands larger than 640 acres where hunting and fishing are legal but inaccessible, then work with neighboring landowners to purchase parcels that facilitate access.

Hunt Unrestricted on National Treasures Act (HUNT Act) is Heinrich's second attempt to expand hunting and angling access to public lands by financing adjacent land purchases from willing sellers using a small percentage of monies from the Land and Water Conservation Fund—federal money earmarked for conservation projects across the nation. Heinrich made a similar proposal in 2012 when he was a member of the House of Representatives, but the congressional session ended before legislators voted.

A press release from the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership says groups like the National Wildlife Federation, Trout Unlimited and the Backcountry Hunters & Anglers applaud the bill.

"The HUNT Act would open millions of acres of landlocked public lands to public access, expanding the opportunity for sportsmen to hunt, fish and otherwise enjoy these uniquely American resources," said Joel Webster, director of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership's Center for Western Lands. "Sportsmen need two things to be able to hunt and fish: access and opportunity. We appreciate Senator Heinrich's leadership in introducing this measure and specifically addressing the very real challenge of diminished public access to our publicly owned lands and waters."

It will be several months before Heinrich's HUNT Act moves through committees and is on the Senate floor for debate, and finally, a vote.

Comments (5)

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from siberd wrote 28 weeks 4 days ago

this sounds good to me the bill doesn`t force people to sell and makes public land easier to access at my age anymore i can`t walk as far as i used to my only concern is if the conservatives will spend the money

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Whiptail wrote 28 weeks 4 days ago

What the article should say is "U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM) reintroduced a bill today, that, if signed into law, will allow increased access for RESIDENT hunters and fishermen on federal public lands". 84% of permits go to residents, 10% to guided hunters, and 6% to DIY nonresidents. Nonresidents cannot even apply for cow elk tags and for all others must pay $65 for privilege of applying. Hunting on Federal lands in New Mexico is hoarded and Senator Martin should educate his residents on how to share.

-3 Good Comment? | | Report
from GregMc wrote 28 weeks 3 days ago

This is a great bill that will help a lot of public land hunters and anglers get to some really cool publicly owned, land-locked places. Kudos to Sen. Heinrich for introducing proactive legislation for hunters and anglers.
Whiptail: I think you're confused. The state (NM in this case) regulates the percentage of tags that goes to non-residents. And for what it's worth, 84 percent for residents is the lowest in the west. Most other western states give 90 percent to residents.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from El Pescador wrote 28 weeks 2 days ago

This bill is incredible! There are so many locked up public lands around the west that we don't even know about all of them. I love that this bill takes steps to inventory them, create a plan to give us access, and not burden taxpayers with some new fiscal note. It's a great use of LWCF dollars and I personally commend Senator Heinrich. It's good to see that a Democrat can step up and do a great thing like this. GregMc nails it on NM by the way Whiptail. I actually find that it's been easier for me to get big game tags from out of state than it is for my friends that live there. I even know a lot of guys in NM that have quit hunting because they can never draw as residents. I think their whole system needs to be audited and revamped. It's not their Congressmen that can do it either...it's NM Game and Fish. The good news is that the HUNT act is for all public lands...not just NM.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Brian Kempkes wrote 19 weeks 3 days ago

This bill is good and bad. Great!- a whole bunch of landlocked public land gets opened up. Not so Great!- If it is your land the Federal THUGS will demand you allow them to grant an easement thru.I'm sure all the city dweller won't mind thousands of people dropping in their backyard for some Quad riding, four wheelin' , BBQ-ing, camping, squatting, dumping some refrigerators, watermelons, TV's to shoot up and leave in the NF. Some people move to the country to avoid all the crowds and idiots, I don't want them going thru or around my yard onto landlocked public land. There is public access 30 miles away, if they want access to the honeyhole behind my house, they can do the miles on foot from the public access or plead to my character judgement. If the PUBLIC weren't such PIGS and A-holes ( with greedy ambulance chasing attorneys following their every move), access wouldn't be a problem. I don't trust any bill coming out of Congress that steals private property rights.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report

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from siberd wrote 28 weeks 4 days ago

this sounds good to me the bill doesn`t force people to sell and makes public land easier to access at my age anymore i can`t walk as far as i used to my only concern is if the conservatives will spend the money

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Brian Kempkes wrote 19 weeks 3 days ago

This bill is good and bad. Great!- a whole bunch of landlocked public land gets opened up. Not so Great!- If it is your land the Federal THUGS will demand you allow them to grant an easement thru.I'm sure all the city dweller won't mind thousands of people dropping in their backyard for some Quad riding, four wheelin' , BBQ-ing, camping, squatting, dumping some refrigerators, watermelons, TV's to shoot up and leave in the NF. Some people move to the country to avoid all the crowds and idiots, I don't want them going thru or around my yard onto landlocked public land. There is public access 30 miles away, if they want access to the honeyhole behind my house, they can do the miles on foot from the public access or plead to my character judgement. If the PUBLIC weren't such PIGS and A-holes ( with greedy ambulance chasing attorneys following their every move), access wouldn't be a problem. I don't trust any bill coming out of Congress that steals private property rights.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from GregMc wrote 28 weeks 3 days ago

This is a great bill that will help a lot of public land hunters and anglers get to some really cool publicly owned, land-locked places. Kudos to Sen. Heinrich for introducing proactive legislation for hunters and anglers.
Whiptail: I think you're confused. The state (NM in this case) regulates the percentage of tags that goes to non-residents. And for what it's worth, 84 percent for residents is the lowest in the west. Most other western states give 90 percent to residents.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from El Pescador wrote 28 weeks 2 days ago

This bill is incredible! There are so many locked up public lands around the west that we don't even know about all of them. I love that this bill takes steps to inventory them, create a plan to give us access, and not burden taxpayers with some new fiscal note. It's a great use of LWCF dollars and I personally commend Senator Heinrich. It's good to see that a Democrat can step up and do a great thing like this. GregMc nails it on NM by the way Whiptail. I actually find that it's been easier for me to get big game tags from out of state than it is for my friends that live there. I even know a lot of guys in NM that have quit hunting because they can never draw as residents. I think their whole system needs to be audited and revamped. It's not their Congressmen that can do it either...it's NM Game and Fish. The good news is that the HUNT act is for all public lands...not just NM.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Whiptail wrote 28 weeks 4 days ago

What the article should say is "U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM) reintroduced a bill today, that, if signed into law, will allow increased access for RESIDENT hunters and fishermen on federal public lands". 84% of permits go to residents, 10% to guided hunters, and 6% to DIY nonresidents. Nonresidents cannot even apply for cow elk tags and for all others must pay $65 for privilege of applying. Hunting on Federal lands in New Mexico is hoarded and Senator Martin should educate his residents on how to share.

-3 Good Comment? | | Report

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