Sportsmen’s Act of 2012: Why it stalled

The Sportsmen’s Act of 2012 finally had its day in the Senate only to have stalled there. If you are not familiar with the Sportsmen’s Act of 2012, it is one of the largest pieces of legislation focused on the outdoor community to come through congress in decades. The “Act” is made up of over twenty different bills, some of which are aimed at increasing access for hunters and anglers on public land.

The reported point of contention that the Senate has with the Sportsmen’s Act is that it violated the Budget Control Act due to the fact that it asked for an additional $14 million in new federal spending.

Another issue many on the hill have with the Sportsmen’s Act is that the Environmental Protection Agency would lose the ability to regulate lead ammunition and lead fishing tackle. With the past uprisings of anti-lead usage in the wilds, I am sure this also is a reason it stalled in the Senate.

What would the bill have meant for the fishing industry as a whole?

With the current lack of access, or loss of access to waters to fish is one of the leading reasons anglers report they no longer fish. One of the ways the Sportsmen’s Act would have changed the face of our public lands is by bringing back the Federal Lands Transaction Facilitation Act. The FLTA or the “Bacca Act” as it is commonly referred to, appropriates monies to create access to public lands and water. Currently there are approximately 35 million acres of public land that has inadequate or nonexistent access.

Currently the number of anglers is up, approximately 11% over 2006 numbers among anglers 16 years of age and older. Add into that number the future anglers that tag along, and you can see that fishing is making a strong comeback. With a potential for an increase in access to public waters, these number would continue to climb.

Anglers are already spending money and appear ready to continue to fuel our economy . The passage of this act could only increase this surge. If you have not yet experienced an increase in business like much of the industry has, hopefully this bill passes, and will help you and your business.