If there is one thing that threatens the future of hunting more than any other, it is the challenge of finding a place to hunt. More and more hunting land is being lost, either through development or because of restrictive regulations that preclude its use. Concerned hunters working together with NRA-ILA have found a solution: protect our public hunting lands with No-Net-Loss laws.
Simply put, No-Net-Loss requires that states maintain at least the level of available public hunting land that currently exists. It requires that additional lands be opened to hunting if land that is currently open to hunting is closed. The end result is to assure hunters that the opportunities they now have will not diminish.
No-Net-Loss laws have been enacted in Connecticut, Maine, Illinois, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Georgia, and NRA-ILA is actively pursuing similar legislation in a host of other states.
But states are only part of the problem, and offer only part of the solution. The federal government administers millions of acres of public land. Much of this land has traditionally been open to hunting. In order to keep those lands open to sportsmen, Senators Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Ted Stevens (R-AK), Richard Burr (R-NC), James Inhofe (R-OK), John Sunnunu (R-NH) and Jim Bunning R-KY) introduced the Hunting Heritage Protection Act in 2009 and 2010 to apply the No-Net-Loss policy to all federally administered land. Passage of this important Act would mean that the amount of BLM, Forest Service, Wildlife Refuge and National Parks land that is now available for hunters will not diminish.
NRA-ILA is pursuing the reintroduction and passage of the Hunting Heritage Protection Act in the 112th Congress.
Important Points About No-Net-Loss
- The goal of No-Net-Loss is to create a base line number of public hunting acres that are always open to hunting, guaranteeing that future generations have the same hunting opportunities that we enjoy today. By preserving America`s public hunting lands, we will allow people to continue to enjoy our sporting heritage.
- The legislation in no way infringes on private property rights, or on the ability of local governments to manage their own lands. It applies only to publicly owned lands.
- Hunters are the foremost conservationists in America. By preserving hunting we are ensuring that hunters will continue to protect wildlife and the environment. Through license fees, hunters pay for 75% of the budget of state wildlife agencies. Without hunters there would be no agencies, and without the agencies wildlife would be unprotected.
- Taxes collected from hunters provide half a billion dollars annually to the preservation and expansion of wildlife habitat. In the last 67 years, hunters have contributed $9.5 billion to wildlife conservation. Without these funds America`s wildlife could not survive.