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An unprecedented coalition has been working to keep this iconic Western game bird protected.. Flickr/Pacific Southwest Region USFWS

When he said “It ain’t over till it’s over,” that great American philosopher, Yogi Berra, was talking about baseball. But he could have been talking about the effort sportsmen have to exercise when protecting fish and wildlife habitat from the current Congress.

The latest examples are the ongoing attempts to transfer our federal public lands to state and private ownership, and the survival of an important program to protect sage grouse.

Sportsmen have achieved some important victories on both issues—but the bad guys never stop swinging.

Which means it’s time to log onto your email accounts, and keep fighting.

Because, as you will see, these two fights still ain’t over:

Sage Grouse

Regular readers probably know this story. An unprecedented coalition of landowners, state and federal agencies and conservation groups have been working together on habitat restoration to keep this iconic Western game bird from being listed as threatened or endangered. But a group of (mostly) Western GOP House members don’t like that idea—mainly because they want the states to control this issue.

Their way to stop the good work are amendments they tacked onto the National Defense Authorization Act, which keeps our military funded.

Well, the Senate has stepped forward with its own version for national defense—and it has none of those sage grouse amendments, thanks to a bipartisan effort to keep the focus on men at arms, and not birds in the field. Now the two houses get together to hammer out the differences.

And that means it’s time for sportsmen to send strong messages to their congressional delegations telling them you are watching—and want a clean defense bill, without any mentions of sage grouse.

Public Lands

Every time you think the public lands issue is dead due to the strong national opposition to the idea, some members bring it up again.

That happened recently when the House Natural Resources Committee sent a bill to the floor with two measures that would clear the way for the transfer of millions of acres of our lands to the states.

Anyone who hunts, fishes, backpacks, camps, rafts, bird watches, berry picks—well, anyone who uses federal lands such as national forests and BLM property—needs to send an urgent email to their House delegations, opposing the National Forest Management Act (H.R. 3650), and the Self-Sufficient Community Lands Act (H.R. 2316), both of which would convey federal lands to states.

If these sound familiar, it’s because they were thought to be dead several times in the past.

But as Yogi says, it ain’t over till it’s over.

And it obviously ain’t over yet.

Get the phone numbers and email addresses of your senators and representative here.