The House Natural Resources Committee unanimously approved H.R. 6013, the Migratory Bird Framework & Hunting Opportunities for Veterans Act, which is sponsored by the committee’s chairman, Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT).
The bill changes the Migratory Bird Treaty Act to establish January 31 of each year as the Federal closing date for duck hunting season. The bill also creates special duck hunting days for young people, veterans and active military personnel.
H.R. 6013 is the House version of a Senate bill, S. 2942, introduced by Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS). SCI President Babaz applauded S. 2942 in a statement earlier this summer.
“What an honor for millions of America’s hunters that Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith’s first bill introduced in the Senate is one dedicated to promoting our hunting heritage,” SCI President Babaz said. “Her bill helps our veterans and service members who hunt and addresses a critical need to ensure that hunting is handed down to the next generation.”
If enacted, S. 2942 and H.R. 6014 would require the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to give all states the ability to manage their own wildlife by allowing the local wildlife management authorities the option of extending their duck season closing dates to January 31. It also sets aside the first weekend in February as a short duck hunting season exclusively for youth, veterans and active duty service members.
In states like Mississippi, these changes could create 10 additional days of duck hunting over the next several years. This would be an economic boon in many areas and would drive more funding through Pittman-Robertson to protect or restore habitat.
SCI joins other hunting and shooting groups, including Delta Waterfowl and National Shooting Sports Foundation, in support of these pro-hunting changes.