Murkowski, Manchin Introduce Bill to Protect Hunting Rights on Federal Lands

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, today introduced legislation to ensure the rights of recreational hunters, fishermen and shooters on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service lands.

“Instead of further empowering federal officials, this bill will mandate cooperation by federal agencies with state fish and wildlife agencies regarding resident wildlife on BLM and Forest Service lands,” Senator Murkowski said. “Our bill preserves Americans’ right to enjoy their lands from repeated attempts to limit access.”

“As Governor, and now as Senator from the great state of West Virginia, I have always sought to preserve and enhance the tradition of hunting that is so important to our state and its people,” Senator Manchin said. “This commonsense bill would ensure that America’s outdoorsmen can continue to hunt and fish on our beautiful lands.”

The Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage and Opportunities Act protects the public right to engage in recreational hunting, fishing and shooting on federal lands. It mandates that BLM and Forest Service managed lands be open to recreational hunting, fishing and shooting unless specifically closed by the agencies. The bill also supports Executive Order 13443, which directs federal land management agencies to facilitate the expansion and enhancement of hunting on federal lands, and ensures sound scientific management of wildlife and their habitat.

This bill is the Senate companion to H.R. 2834, which was introduced by Rep. Dan Benishek, R-Michigan, in September with 45 bipartisan co-sponsors.

The full text of the bill and a fact sheet are attached.