This week, SCI’s Board of Directors will be holding its August Meeting. Each year, this meeting is convened to update and evaluate SCI’s work since the last meeting in May and to look forward to the Annual Convention. It has been a busy summer for SCI Advocacy; here are our highlights:
East of the Mississippi, SCI has been active in 26 states focusing on Sunday hunting, hunting access, CWD, gun rights, lead ammunition, licensing, and local control. This includes 8 visits to six states, 3-6 coalition meetings per month, 8 comment letters, 3 HAACs, and 1 letter to the editor.
In the Western part of the Country, SCI has been active in 24 where the top issues are predators, commissions, nonresident restrictions, hunting access, gun rights, and Constitutional amendments with roughly 600 bills relevant to our members. Since May, SCI has attended 11 field visits; has monitored over 36 coalition meetings and over 24 commission meetings; submitted 13 comment letters across 10 states; and sent out 5 HAAC alerts.
At the Federal level, the Advocacy team has held multiple events at SCI’s DC headquarters, hosting a reception with Ambassadors to the United States from Africa and Senator Cindy Hyde Smith, as well as a Lunch and Learn to educate congressional staffers on the Endangered Species Act (ESA). On the hill, the House Committee on Natural Resources held a mark-up on several bills, including H.R. 615, the Protecting Hunters and Anglers Act which was reported favorably out of the Committee and will advance to the House floor for a vote. Also reported favorably was H.R. 2872. Introduced by Representative Graves, it seeks to amend the Permanent Electronic Duck Stamp Act of 2013 to allow States to issue electronic stamps under the Act. We have also seen federal focus on the ESA, with the House Subcommittee on Water, Wildlife and Fisheries holding an oversight hearing titled “ESA at 50: The Destructive Cost of the ESA.”
Internationally, SCI supported an event hosted by our partner FACE in support of hunting in the European Parliament; a trophy ban was defeated in Poland; we have fought trophy import processing delays in Canada; and submitted strong opposition, including a HAAC by our members, to a proposed ban on elephant and rhino imports in Canada.
Since the beginning of 2023, the legal advocacy team has submitted 17 public comments, including ten unique public comments and seven bontebok import permit application comments. Comments were submitted to three federal agencies, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the National Park Service.
The next few months will only be busier for SCI Advocacy, but we’re ready for the work ahead. No matter what, where, or how you hunt, SCI fights for YOU as we stand First for Hunters.