Sportsmen's Amendment to Farm Bill Includes Bennet Bowhunting Provision Backed by Colorado Sportsmen

Sportsmen's Act of 2012 Contains Package of Hunting, Fishing, Conservation Bills

Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today announced that the Sportsmen’s Act of 2012, a package of hunting, fishing and conservation bills, has been filed as an amendment to the 2012 Farm Bill.  The amendment, which Bennet has cosponsored, includes his provision to allow bowhunters with archery equipment to cross national park lands to access adjacent hunting lands.  Currently, bowhunters do not enjoy the same rights to cross national park lands as those with firearms.

The provision has the support of Colorado sportsmen and has been a Bennet priority throughout his time as senator.  While visitors can legally transport firearms in national parks, the law is unclear regarding bows.  This poses a practical problem for bow hunters who want to legally hunt on public or private lands adjacent to parks, but must cross National Park Service Lands to get there.

“Some of the country’s best and most scenic hunting lands are in Colorado, but some sportsmen have been denied reasonable access to them,” Bennet said.  “This bipartisan is a commonsense fix to provide access and equity for Colorado bowhunters who want to legally hunt on lands adjacent to national parks.”

“Senator Bennet is a tireless advocate for sportsmen and I appreciate his work to increase access for our nation’s bowhunters,” said Sen. Jon Tester, Chairman of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus.  “Sportsmen constantly tell me about the importance of improving access to public lands and this bill combines the best ideas from Republicans and Democrats in a common-sense package to move the ball forward for hunters and anglers across the nation.”

“As an avid bowhunter myself, I applaud Sen. Bennet’s continuous efforts to provide and improve quality access and opportunities for our nation’s sportsmen and women,” said Gaspar Perricone, Co-Director of the Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance. “This effort is yet another step in ensuring that the next generation of hunter and angler will enjoy the same opportunities that were handed down to us.”

“The TRCP expresses gratitude to Senators Tester and Thune, along with the other cosponsors, including Senator Bennet, for their efforts to work across the political divide and propose this sensible yet comprehensive package of bills,” said Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership President and CEO Whit Fosburgh. “This legislation will directly benefit millions of American sportsmen and the nation’s vibrant outdoor recreation economy.”

In December, a coalition of sportsmen organizations in Colorado sent Bennet a letter of support for his bow hunting provision. Organizations signing the letter were:

  • Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance
  • Colorado Bowhunters Association
  • Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership
  • Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep Society
  • Colorado Wildlife Federation
  • Colorado Traditional Archer Association
  • Colorado Youth Outdoors
  • Pheasants Forever
  • Bear Creek Archery, Inc.
  • National Wild Turkey Federation
  • Colorado Backcountry Hunters and Anglers

The Sportsmen’s Act of 2012, introduced by Tester of Montana and John Thune of South Dakota includes provisions on hunting, fishing, recreational access of public lands and habitat conservation. It also would reauthorize the North American Wetlands Conservation Act and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, among other programs. The amendment has the support of more than 50 sportsmen groups, many of whom wrote Bennet a letter calling for its passage.