January 22, 2021
Action items for outdoors enthusiasts to consider from the Sportsmen's Alliance:
Texas Bill Regulates Dog Owners as Commercial Breeders
Legislation that would force everyone from casual hunters to sporting dog kennel owners to be licensed as a commercial dog breeder has been introduced in the Texas Senate. Under current law, a person that possesses 11 intact females and sells or exchanges more than 20 dogs in a year must obtain a breeder’s license. Senate Bill 323, sponsored by State Senator Royce West, would reduce the number of intact females to five and completely remove the 20 dogs-sold threshold. If this bill were to become law, anyone who owns five intact females and sells or exchanges even one puppy would be forced to be licensed as a dog breeder and to comply with commercial operation regulations.
Sporting dog kennels, hobby breeders and hunters do not exist for commerce, and most could not afford to be regulated as such. Senate Bill 323 will result in the elimination of sporting dog kennels, and even puts everyday hunters at risk.
"Senate Bill 323 is a one-size-fits-all bill that treats all kennel and dog owners the same, regardless of their purpose," said Jacob Hupp, associate director of state services for Sportsmen’s Alliance. "This bill will impact guides, trainers and sporting dog kennels, especially for bird dogs and houndsmen, as well as impacting the breeding of quality hunting dogs, field-trialers and other hobby breeders across the state."
North Dakota: Bill Expanding Apprentice Hunting to Receive Hearing
North Dakota State Rep. Dave Nehring’s legislation that would allow anyone who purchased an apprentice hunting license in 2020-21 to purchase an apprentice hunting license for an additional year was expected to be heard this week. The bill has come about as a relief opportunity for new and inexperienced hunters trying out hunting for the first time during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under current law in North Dakota, an apprentice hunter validation is only valid for one license year in your lifetime. The bill has been referred to the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee where it had a hearing on Jan. 21.
Apprentice hunting licenses allow new hunters to try hunting before spending hours in a hunter education class. This "try-before-you-buy" concept allows mentors to instill safety, ethics and their passion for the sport in new hunters in a safe setting while they get to experience the hunt.
This legislation is a great first step in expanding North Dakota’s apprentice hunting opportunities, but there is more opportunity to leverage the apprentice program to increase hunter recruitment in the state. Studies conducted by the Sportsmen’s Alliance in Ohio and Wisconsin found that nearly 91 percent of people who purchase an apprentice license three times will go on to complete a hunter’s education course. With the end goal of increasing hunter participation, this legislation can be improved by including language that allows anyone to purchase an apprentice license for at least three license years in a lifetime.
”We are glad to see Rep. Nehring is using his office to find unique ways to make it easier for North Dakotans to go afield," said Jacob Hupp associate director of state services for Sportsmen’s Alliance. "We hope this legislation will provide opportunities for the Alliance to engage and advocate for more advancement of mentored hunting opportunities."
Connecticut: African Big Game Import Ban Introduced
Connecticut Senate Bill 62 would ban the importation, sale and possession of six species of iconic African big game, including parts from elephant, black and white rhinoceros, lion, leopard and giraffe.
It is legal for American hunters to harvest African big game species in accordance with proper import permits from both the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the African countries where they hunt. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service only issues import permits for hunts that occur in countries that maintain sound conservation plans that help improve threatened and endangered wildlife populations. Additionally, the Endangered Species Act of 1973 leaves the regulation of importing endangered wildlife to the federal government, not to individual states.
"This legislation is not written in the best interest of African wildlife or the African countries that rely on American big-game hunting dollars," said Jacob Hupp associate director of state services at the Sportsmen’s Alliance.
A Northwest University of South Africa study found that South Africa receives $156 million in hunting-associated revenues and also found that the average hunter will spend close to $6,000 on lodging, food, clothing and equipment during their visit. Big-game hunting creates jobs for locals, injects millions of dollars into the African economy and funds anti-poaching efforts in Africa.
About the Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Sportsmen’s Alliance protects and defends America’s wildlife conservation programs and the pursuits – hunting, fishing and trapping – that generate the money to pay for them. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation is responsible for public education, legal defense and research. Its mission is accomplished through several distinct programs coordinated to provide the most complete defense capability possible. Stay connected to Sportsmen’s Alliance: Online, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.