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House passes major bill to increase hunting, fishing and shooting opportunities

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The House passed the Sportsmen's Heritage And Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act of 2013 (H.R. 3590) on Wednesday, Feb. 5. The legislation contains a variety of provisions designed to improve conditions for hunting, fishing and recreational shooting. You can read about it at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/D?d113:1:./temp/~bdXD4o:@@@D&summ2=m&|/home/LegislativeData.php|.

To make it easier to set up shooting ranges, the bill would increase the federal share that can be used to buy land, build or expand ranges from 75 percent to 90 percent. States would get five years to use funding from the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act. And the bill limits the liability of the federal government for damages caused by anyone shot on one of the ranges.

The bill would also allow any state to apply to issue electronic duck stamps. The Department of the Interior would have to approve state applications and the department could limit the number of new states per year.

The bill would also replace the Wildlife & Hunting Heritage Council with a Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council Advisory Committee. An effort would have to be made to include veterans service organizations, women and minorities on the committee.

The bill also would require managers of Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management properties to consider hunting, fishing and shooting as allowed recreational activities. The bill would not allow these activities where proscribed by law and managers could bar them for reasons such as public safety or resource conservation. But they could not arbitrarily prohibit them.

The House approved several amendments to the bill as passed by the committee on Natural Resources. The House-passed version calls for an economic impact study on the amount of new hunting, fishing and shooting the bill could create, including any increases in government revenues and jobs.

For a list of the amendments, see http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/D?d113:1:./temp/~bd8Een:@@@S|/home/LegislativeData.php|.

Several similar bills are pending in the Senate.

For the legislative history, see the stories linked to below.

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