Efforts to Ban Bear Hunting With Bait Fail

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Attempts to sneak an anti-bear hunting bill through Congress failed after the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance and other sportsmen’s organizations rallied America’s hunters, anglers and trappers to oppose a last minute amendment to the Department of Interior spending bill.

An amendment to the House Interior Appropriations bill by Reps. Jim Moran, D–Va., and Elton Gallegly, R–Calif., would have banned the use of bait to hunt black bears on federal land. The amendment failed by a vote of 163 to 255.

Reps. Moran and Gallegly attempted to insert the bear hunting ban in the appropriations bill after HR 1472, legislation to ban bear hunting using bait, failed before the House Resources Committee on July 15. Intense sportsmen’s pressure, drummed up by the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance National Bear Hunting Defense Task Force and other hunters’ groups including the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, National Rifle Association and Safari Club International, ensured the bill would fail. These same organizations regrouped to successfully defeat the amendment.

“America’s sportsmen knew that these anti-hunting attacks would threaten more than just bear hunting,” said Rob Sexton, U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance vice president for government affairs. “House Resolution 1472 and the Interior Appropriations amendment would have opened the door for the federal government to control wildlife issues. This, despite the fact that state wildlife management agencies are charged with the responsibility of managing resident wildlife, like black bears, that occur on federal lands.”

Nine states permit the practice of hunting bear with bait. Those states’ wildlife agencies say that the use of bait is an effective and necessary bear management tool.