Public Lands Bill Passage A Major Win for Bowhunters

Public Lands Bill Passage A Major Win for Bowhunters

Last week, President Trump signed into law a comprehensive bill (S.47- John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management and Recreation Act) that was not only an example that bipartisanship is alive and well in our government (or at least still possible), but a true win for bowhunters of all stripes. Each stage of the bill’s progress, through both the House and the Senate, showed tremendous support on both sides of the aisle and it was a no-brainer for our President to autograph it.

The bill, which has positive implications for anyone who loves the outdoors – including rock climbers, bird watchers, trail runners and fishermen – is the aggregate of over 100 separate bills and easily the largest conservation-related piece of legislation to make it through in over a decade.

Welcome stats from the bill include the creation of 1.3 million acres of new wilderness and an additional 700,000 acres of new recreation and conservation areas. In Washington and Montana, the bill withdraws 370,000 acres from mineral development projects. Further, in the list of the bullet points outlining the objectives of S.47 is “wildlife conservation”, two-words-worth of warm and fuzzies for anyone with a penchant toward spending time in the forests, mountains or sage-brush flats.

All of those things are a net positive for public land bowhunters, but it’s the reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) that truly caps off this impressive bill.


Public-Land Funding

The LWCF had been in place for over 50 years when it was allowed to expire in 2018. The loss of funding from that lapse totals well into the hundreds of millions of dollars, all of which would have been used to further enhance our lands and waters. Now, with the passage of S.47, those funds are back and that’s good news for all of us.


skylined doe at sunset

The LWCF stems from a simple idea. Resource extraction in the form of offshore oil and gas drilling would be taxed to fund the conservation of our land and water. From 1964 until last year, that’s what happened to the tune of $900,000,000 each year in royalties. Although not all of that money makes to projects that directly benefit bowhunters, plenty of it does and it’s nearly an impossible task to find a single county in the this country that hasn’t benefited somehow from LWCF funds.

Naturally, it’s not all roses with the LWCF funds, however. Each year congress decides that a good portion of the royalties paid into the fund should go to projects totally unrelated to the LWCF’s stated goals. Even though it’s pretty much a given that there will be a few unwelcome hands in the cookie jar, the impact of the remaining money has had a tremendous impact resulting in the acquisition of in incredible amount of public land – much of which is open to hunting for all of us. LWCF money can also be traced directly to countless local-level wildlife habitat-improvement projects which can benefit private-land bowhunters as well simply because better habitat tends to produce better game populations.

Why This All Matters

More public land is a win for all of us who value having a place to hunt - the importance of which can’t be overstated. As good as that, at least in my opinion, is the engagement level of the average hunter in promoting this bill and encouraging their elected representatives to step up and support it was incredible.

You’d have a hard time labeling me a social media junky, or much of a fan to be honest. But with the bad comes the good, and in this case information made to the hunting public through the usual social channels about the bill and the various obstacles it faced, was invaluable. It doesn’t hurt that about anyone with a bend toward any outdoor recreation and at least a pair of brain cells should have – and mostly did – support the passage of S.47, but it is still a great example of the new-wave grassroots conservationism that can prompt positive changes up to the highest levels of government.


And that, my fellow bowhunters, is not nothing.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

2018 Bowhunter TV Episode 13: The Call of Cross Mountain

2018 Bowhunter TV Episode 13: The Call of Cross Mountain

Team Bowhunter makes its annual pilgrimage to the elk-rich high country of Colorado's Cross Mountain Ranch.

Texas Hog and Whitetail Hunt

Texas Hog and Whitetail Hunt

Bowhunter TV Editor Derek Mleynek sets up for some hog and whitetail hunting at Canyon Ranch in Texas.

Turkey Decoy Beatdown

Turkey Decoy Beatdown

Bowhunter contributor Matt Palmquist witnesses a hen trying to destroy one of his decoys while hunting turkeys in Kansas.

Kansas Turkey Bowhunt

Kansas Turkey Bowhunt

Bowhunter contributor Matt Palmquist sets up shop for a turkey hunt in Kansas.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Chasing predators is great for calming big-game nerves. Other Game

Tips for Bowhunting Predators

Joe Bell

Chasing predators is great for calming big-game nerves.

This past fall my twin daughters started kindergarten, which meant that I stopped paying for Bows

9 Top Budget Bows for 2018

Tony J. Peterson - February 20, 2018

This past fall my twin daughters started kindergarten, which meant that I stopped paying for

Advances in rangefinding devices have helped bowhunters immensely. Scouting Tools

Advancements in Rangefinder Technology Through the Years

Chuck Adams

Advances in rangefinding devices have helped bowhunters immensely.

With May comes an opportunity to re-think turkey bowhunting strategies. Turkeys

Spring Gobbler Reset: How to Bowhunt Turkeys in May

Tony J. Peterson

With May comes an opportunity to re-think turkey bowhunting strategies.

See More Trending Articles

More Politics

Editor's note: It was late winter when I got a call from a mutual bowhunting friend who told me Politics

Donald Trump Jr: Fifth Avenue Redneck

Curt Wells - April 22, 2016

Editor's note: It was late winter when I got a call from a mutual bowhunting friend who told me

                  









July 20, 2009 (Biloxi, MS) - The Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation Politics

CSF Launches Governors Sportsmen's Caucus

November 04, 2010

July 20, 2009 (Biloxi, MS) - The Congressional...

This bill has major implications for everyone who loves the outdoors. Find out how it affects your bowhunting opportunities! Politics

Public Lands Bill Passage A Major Win for Bowhunters

Tony J. Peterson - March 18, 2019

This bill has major implications for everyone who loves the outdoors. Find out how it affects...

Governors try to solve states' financial woes by stealing from hunters and anglers. Politics

Wildlife Management Succumbs to Politics

Dr. Dave Samuel - November 04, 2010

Governors try to solve states' financial woes by stealing from hunters and anglers.

See More Politics

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Bowhunter subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now