U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senator Steve Daines lead a group of 22 of his colleagues to introduce a bill to prohibit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from banning the use of traditional lead ammunition or tackle on public lands unless such action is supported by the best available science and state wildlife and fish agencies.
“Sportsmen are the original conservationists and play an important role in wildlife management—the last thing we should do is limit their access to public lands by implementing a blanket-ban on traditional ammo and tackle. Not only would this affect our state agencies’ revenue but it’s also unfair to sportsmen who can’t access or afford lead alternatives and depend on hunting and fishing,” Daines said. “Outdoor recreation is part of our Montana way of life—I’ll keep fighting to protect our hunting and fishing legacy and ensuring these decisions are guided by science, not politics.”
Last spring, FWS entered into settlement negotiations with activist organizations over a lawsuit regarding the use of traditional ammunition and lead on over 3 million acres of federal land. Daines led a group of his colleagues in urging FWS Director Martha Williams not to cave in to activists’ calls to restrict the use of lead ammo and tackle on public lands earlier this year.
This bill also comes one week after FWS published a rule that, while expanding access to hunting and fishing at certain wildlife refuges, prohibited the use of lead ammunition and fishing tackle.
Senators John Thune (S.D.), Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.), John Barrasso (Wyo.), Jim Risch (Idaho), Mike Crapo (Idaho), Bill Cassidy (La.), Rick Scott (Fla.), Mike Braun (Ind.), Dan Sullivan (Ala.), Roger Marshall (Kan.), Kevin Cramer (N.D.), Mike Rounds (S.D.), Jim Inhofe (Okla.), Cynthia Lummis (Wyo.), Tom Cotton (Ark.), John Hoeven (N.D.), Thom Tillis (N.C.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (Miss.), Roger Wicker (Miss.), Deb Fischer (Neb.), Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.) and Todd Young (Ind.) joined Daines’ bill.
Quotes of Support:
“The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) appreciates the efforts of Senator Daines to support sportsmen and women through the Protecting Access for Hunters and Anglers Act. Traditional ammunition and tackle is often the most accessible and affordable option for hunters and anglers. CSF maintains that traditional ammo and tackle should be an allowable method of take on federal lands, unless a substantiated science-based process determines otherwise at specific locations.” – Jeff Crane, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation President and CEO
“The sportfishing industry is grateful to Sen. Daines for introducing the Protecting Access for Hunters and Anglers Act of 2022. Decisions about the tackle anglers are allowed to use must be based on science, not emotion. This bill will uphold state fish and wildlife agencies as the proper authorities to make science-based determinations around lead fishing tackle.” – Glenn Hughes, President of the American Sportfishing Association
“The Fish and Wildlife Service lead ban is an extreme approach made all the more egregious by the Service’s failure to carefully consider the massive impact this decision will have on hunters and anglers. We thank Senator Daines for introducing this legislation to protect America’s sportsmen and women against this type of federal agency overreach and look forward to working with him to see this bill passed.” – Todd Adkins, Vice President of Government Affairs for Sportsmen’s Alliance
“The broad-brush Federal application of non-toxic, lead-free shot in regulation, will create barriers to participation and criminals out of hunters while offering no measurable conservation benefit. In most cases where this regulation has been applied, there was no documented problem and no demonstrated benefit and while it may be trendy to issue such blanket regulations, MOGA does not support regulation just for regulation’s sake. Tie it to a demonstrated cause and effect and we will support, otherwise focus on issues that accomplish something; like delisting grizzly bears” – Mac Minard, Executive Director of the Montana Outfitters and Guides Association.
“The Boone and Crockett Club is concerned about efforts to arbitrarily limit the use of lead ammunition and fishing tackle, and appreciate Sen. Daines’ legislation to curtail these proposals. Science-based fish and wildlife conservation is the cornerstone of our organization and is fundamental to how federal and state fish and wildlife agencies manage our natural resources. If an individual wildlife agency decides that lead exposure prevents them from meeting a population management objective for a particular species in a given area, it should be up to that agency to implement targeted solutions that do not unnecessarily restrict hunting or shooting opportunities, including hunter education, voluntary programs, or mandatory programs using suitable ammunition alternatives.” – Tony Schoonen, Chief Executive Officer, Boone and Crockett Club
“Both The Bass Federation and The Walleye Federation and our various chapters in 49 states fully support this proposed legislation by Senator Daines and others. History has proven there are no better stewards and supporters of fish, game, conservation and our natural resources than Anglers and Hunters we would not support anything that would endanger those resources. But we simply cannot support blanket federal bans that effect millions of acres of publicly owned resources when it is purely political overreach and there is simply no science or data to support it.” – Robert Cartlidge President and CEO, The Bass Federation and The Walleye Federation
“On behalf of SCI members across America, thank you Senator Daines for being an unwavering champion for hunters and our access to public lands by introducing the Protecting Access for Hunters and Anglers Act of 2022. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s 2022 Hunt Fish Rule shuts down a lawful method of harvest – use of traditional ammunition – through either immediate prohibition or rapid phaseout. Scientific studies have not demonstrated detrimental population-level impacts on game species. Emotion based bans are a blow to economic access and negatively impact Pittman Robertson revenue. Wildlife and habitat win when federal land managers base their decisions on best available science while giving deference to state management authorities.” – Ben Cassidy, EVP for International Government & Public Affairs, Safari Club International
“NSSF commends Senator Daines for his leadership to ensure the best conservation practices are grounded in sound science and not driven by special-interest anti-hunting groups. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s recently-finalized rule that prohibits the use of traditional lead ammunition is devoid of any scientific evidence that it has detrimental wildlife population impacts. In fact, the Pittman-Robertson excise taxes paid by firearm and ammunition manufacturers is crucial in the successful American Wildlife Conservation Model that is the envy of the world. This legislation is critical to protecting conservation for future generations of outdoorsmen and women.” – Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel
“The Marine Retailers Association of the Americas greatly appreciates Senator Daines’ commitment to science-based natural resource management and for being a continued ally of our nation’s sportsmen and sportswomen. This bill highlights the importance of basing policy decisions off of sound science while simultaneously working in concert with state resource agencies. It also works to maintain access for many recreational boaters and anglers, who choose to responsibly use lead tackle, or cannot find or afford suitable alternatives, and we applaud Sen. Daines’ commitment to keeping Americans on the water.” – Chad Tokowicz, Marine Retailers Association of the Americas, Government Relations Manager
“Once again America’s rich hunting and fishing heritage comes under attack from extremist politicians bent on denying public access to our great outdoors. Studies show that lead ammunition provides a safe, effective, and affordable option for hunters and recreational shooters without making a significant impact on wildlife. Banning the traditional use of lead in favor of more expensive substitutes will drive millions of outdoorsmen and women from the mountains, fields, and streams of our public lands and ensure the funds raised from their licensing and fees will disappear from the conservation coffers for the foreseeable future. On behalf of our millions of members, the NRA applauds Senator Daines for taking on this very important issue.” – Jason Ouimet, Executive Director, NRA-ILA
“Senator Daines’ legislation on lead is grounded in science, a key to managing fish and wildlife, it enables hunting and angling to continue to thrive, and takes into account the needs of ordinary people from Mississippi to Montana. Our Nation’s heritage of hunting and fishing has been passed down for generations. However, before that, it was a source of food. Today, hunting and fishing is not only a legal means of regulating wildlife populations, but continues to be a sustainable source of healthy and organic food. Wild game and fish can be utilized to help those plagued with obesity, heart disease, and diabetes improve their health. This important legislation will help millions of American continue to have access to quality sources of food at a low cost, which is so important during this time of such high inflation.” – James L. Cummins, Executive Director, Wildlife Mississippi
“Sportsmen have always taken responsible leadership in addressing what is needed to protect wildlife. Now they need some protection. The Protecting Access for Hunters and Anglers Act prohibits arbitrary restrictions on lead ammunition and tackle. Lead, like many other elements, can exist in the environment without impacting wildlife populations, especially in the infinitesimal amount left by hunting. Research and development of non-lead ammunition is curtailed by Federal rules and therefore a limited alternative. This bill will keep the country on a science-based path to solving documented problems with lead as they arise.” – Gray Thornton, President and CEO, Wild Sheep Foundation
“Sen. Daines’ Protecting Access for Hunters and Anglers Act ensures continued access for both through decision making requirements founded in strong science and wildlife agency support. If lead-use changes must be made to benefit wildlife management programs, the NDA believes that any transition from lead to non-lead ammunition for hunting should be voluntary and incentive-based, focusing on educating hunters and shooters about non-lead alternatives and the efficacy and availability of non-lead ammunition.” – Nick Pinizzotto, President and CEO National Deer Association