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Coalition Launched to Stop Federal Anti-Bear Hunting Bill

(Columbus) - The nation's premier sportsmen's advocacy organization has joined forces with dedicated bear hunting groups to launch a coalition to fight a Virginia congressman's attempt to restrict bear hunting.

Representative Jim Moran, a Democrat from Fairfax, Virginia, has committed to passing imminent legislation that would ban bear baiting on federal land. In response to the threat, the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance, Michigan Bear Hunters Association, Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association and the Upper Peninsula Bear Houndsmen created the Bear Hunting Defense Task Force.

Ten of the twenty-seven states that permit black bear hunting also allow baiting. State wildlife agencies from those states say that baiting is an effective and necessary management tool for controlling bear numbers. Moran wants to take that option away.

"The bill itself is not the only threat," explained Rob Sexton, U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance vice president for government affairs. "Congressman Moran is known for inserting last minute amendments into bills. He nearly banned trapping on the National Wildlife Refuge System in 1999 in this fashion. To take him lightly would be a mistake.”

Sexton noted that the Bear Hunting Defense Task Force needs more support to be as effective as possible.

"We will only be as effective as the size and strength of our coalition," he said. "We will need sportsmen’s organizations from, at the very least, all bear hunting states to defeat this threat.”

Frank Crapsey, president of the Michigan Bear Hunters Association, challenged other organizations to do their part.

"We are launching this Task Force to get the ball rolling," Crapsey said. "We need and welcome all groups to join up.”

The U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance is supplying coordination, funding and lobbying services, while other Task Force members are providing grassroots resources and funding to pay for mailings into targeted congressional districts.

For more information about how to join the Bear Hunting Defense Task Force, contact the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance at 614-888-4868 or [email protected].

The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance protects the rights of hunters, anglers and trappers nationally in the courts, legislatures, at the ballot, in Congress and through public education programs. For more information about the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance and its work, call (614) 888-4868 or visit its website,
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