The Biden administration’s recent announcement regarding restrictions on hunters’ equipment has sparked widespread outrage among the hunting community. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) released its hunting and fishing rule for the upcoming season, which includes a ban on lead ammunition and fishing tackle in eight national wildlife refuges by 2026.
While this decision has been praised by environmental groups, it has left hunters feeling betrayed and concerned about the future of their beloved sport.
Lawrence Keane, the senior vice president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, criticized the FWS for implementing rules that punish hunters without providing scientific evidence of the negative impact of traditional lead ammunition on wildlife populations. Keane accused the administration of advancing an anti-gun and anti-hunting agenda, disregarding their promise to “follow the science.”
The proposed rule would prohibit sportsmen from using lead ammunition or tackle in eight federally managed refuges, starting from September 1, 2026. This ban has raised concerns among hunters, who believe it could be a backdoor attempt to undermine hunting as a whole.
While the FWS claims to have based its decision on the “best available science,” many hunters and conservationists remain skeptical. The previous hunting and fishing rule, implemented in 2022, only banned lead ammunition in one national wildlife refuge. The sudden expansion of the ban raises questions about the agency’s true motivations.
Benjamin Cassidy, executive vice president for international government and public affairs at Safari Club International, criticized the administration for touting their efforts to expand hunting and fishing access while simultaneously imposing restrictions on ammunition and tackle. He argued that these bans create financial barriers for sportsmen and women, limiting their ability to enjoy public lands for hunting and fishing.
The Biden administration’s decision comes after the Center for Biological Diversity, an influential environmental group, sued the federal government over a Trump administration rule that expanded hunting and fishing on millions of acres across numerous wildlife refuges and national fish hatcheries.
Instead of defending the rule, the Biden administration settled with the group, promising to protect wildlife from the impacts of “expanded hunting and fishing.” The new rule is seen as a fulfillment of that promise.
It is crucial for Congress to act swiftly and protect the rights of hunters and anglers. The Protecting Access for Hunters and Anglers Act, introduced by Senator Steve Daines and supported by 22 fellow Republicans, aims to prevent the FWS, Forest Service, and Bureau of Land Management from implementing lead ammunition or tackle bans without solid scientific evidence.
This legislation will ensure that decisions affecting hunters’ access to public lands are based on facts, not political agendas.
The Biden administration’s restrictions on hunters are an affront to the traditions and values cherished by millions of Americans. It is time for Republicans to rally together and defend the rights of sportsmen and women, ensuring that they can continue to enjoy the great outdoors without unnecessary and unsupported restrictions.
Source Fox News