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Game and Fish supporting Sportmen’s Act amendments

Staff Report~ 6/18/2014

PHOENIX – The Arizona Game and Fish Commission voted unanimously today to support two amendments proposed by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2014, to support hunting and sportfishing opportunities in Arizona and across the nation.

The amendments deal with National Parks Service wildlife management and with fish hatcheries in the National Fish Hatchery System.
The Grand Canyon Bison Amendment proposed by Senator McCain would allow the Secretary of the Interior to authorize highly regulated lethal removal of wildlife inside a national park where wildlife is causing habitat or cultural resource damage. Federal regulations make it difficult to convey ownership of the carcass to the hunter who harvests wildlife on NPS land. The amendment allows authorized volunteer hunters who harvest bison from Grand Canyon National Park to take ownership of the bison carcass.

The National Fish Hatchery System Amendment would require federal water agencies to help fund certain fish hatcheries that are operated by the USFWS. A June 12 news release issued by McCain’s office stated that, according to an independent audit by the Government Accountability Office, federal water agencies have been dodging their responsibility to transfer “reimbursement funds” to hatcheries that were constructed to mitigate the loss of fishery resources resulting from a federal dam. To address funding shortfalls, GAO recommended that Congress provide USFWS with “clear authority” to transfer reimbursement funds from its sister agencies.

The Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act, which is co-sponsored by 41 senators, including Senator McCain, is a package of legislative proposals aimed primarily at enhancing outdoor recreation on federal lands. In Arizona, about 786,000 hunters and anglers spend $1.2 billion annually.