Congressman Jim Matheson said legislation acknowledging the traditional rights of states to manage hunting and fishing within their borders is included in the emergency supplemental spending bill that passed the House this week. The Senate is expected to pass the measure next week. Matheson cosponsored the original bill-HR 731.
The bipartisan legislation was introduced after a federal appeals court decision overturned Arizona's limits on non-resident hunting permits. Matheson noted that for decades, state wildlife agencies have set the rules for issuing resident and non-resident licenses as part of their wildlife management plans.
"Sportsmen and hunters play a critical role in protecting wildlife habitat and wildlife populations," said Matheson. "They work cooperatively with state wildlife agencies so that the time-honored tradition of family hunting and fishing in the West will continue. Messing with that success doesn't make sense."
Matheson said the legislation declares that it is Congressional policy that it is in the public interest for each state to continue to regulate the taking of fish and wildlife within its boundaries. It provides that the courts should not use Congressional silence as a reason to impose any commerce-clause barrier to a state's or tribe's regulation of hunting or fishing.