Mississippi Senators cosponsor the Protecting Access for Hunters and Anglers Act of 2022 (S.4940).

Last week, U.S. Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) joined 21 colleagues to advance the Protecting Access for Hunters and Anglers Act of 2022 (S.4940), which would prohibit the Biden administration from banning the use of traditional lead ammunition or tackle on public lands. 

S.4940 would stop the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), U.S. Forest Service, and the Bureau of Land Management from imposing such bans unless such an action is supported by science and state wildlife and fisheries agencies.

Senator Wicker said Mississippi’s sportsmen are some of our state’s strongest advocates for conservation, but recent moves from left-wing environmentalists threaten to limit their ability to hunt and fish on federal lands.

“Moving forward with a ban on traditional ammunition and tackle is not supported by science or good sense, and I am glad to join many of my colleagues to fight to preserve the rights of hunters and anglers across our country,” Wicker added.

Senator Hyde-Smith said that the Protecting Access for Hunters and Anglers Act of 2022 will put a stop to renewed efforts to ban traditional ammo must be stopped.

“Attempts to ban traditional ammunition and fishing tackle was a bad idea in the Obama years and later in the Green New Deal.  It remains a flawed and scientifically unjustified notion under the Biden administration,” Senator Hyde-Smith said. “Hunting and fishing is a way of life for many Mississippians and an economic staple in our state and across the country. Renewed efforts to ban traditional ammo must be stopped, which is what this bill will do.”

U.S. Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) introduced S.4940 after the FWS published a rule that, while expanding access to hunting and fishing at certain wildlife refuges, prohibited the use of lead ammunition and fishing tackle.

“Sportsmen are the original conservationists and play an important role in wildlife management—the last thing we should do is limit their access to public lands by implementing a blanket-ban on traditional ammo and tackle. Not only would this affect our state agencies’ revenue but it’s also unfair to sportsmen who can’t access or afford lead alternatives and depend on hunting and fishing,” Senator Daines said. “Outdoor recreation is part of our Montana way of life—I’ll keep fighting to protect our hunting and fishing legacy and ensuring these decisions are guided by science, not politics.”

Wildlife Mississippi is among the groups supporting S.4940, as well as the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, American Sportfishing Association, National Shooting Sports Foundation, National Deer Association, and others.

James L. Cummins, Executive Director of Wildlife Mississippi, said that this legislation will help millions of American continue to have access to quality sources of food at a low cost, which is so important during this time of such high inflation.

“Senator Daines’ legislation on lead is grounded in science, a key to managing fish and wildlife, it enables hunting and angling to continue to thrive, and takes into account the needs of ordinary people from Mississippi to Montana,” Cummins said. “Our Nation’s heritage of hunting and fishing has been passed down for generations. However, before that, it was a source of food.  Today, hunting and fishing is not only a legal means of regulating wildlife populations, but continues to be a sustainable source of healthy and organic food. Wild game and fish can be utilized to help those plagued with obesity, heart disease, and diabetes improve their health.”

Jeff Crane, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) President and CEO, said CSF appreciates the efforts of Senator Daines to support sportsmen and women through the Protecting Access for Hunters and Anglers Act.

“Traditional ammunition and tackle is often the most accessible and affordable option for hunters and anglers. CSF maintains that traditional ammo and tackle should be an allowable method of take on federal lands, unless a substantiated science-based process determines otherwise at specific locations,” Crane stated.

Glenn Hughes, President of the American Sportfishing Association, said the sportfishing industry is grateful to Sen. Daines for introducing the Protecting Access for Hunters and Anglers Act of 2022.

“The sportfishing industry is grateful to Sen. Daines for introducing the Protecting Access for Hunters and Anglers Act of 2022. Decisions about the tackle anglers are allowed to use must be based on science, not emotion. This bill will uphold state fish and wildlife agencies as the proper authorities to make science-based determinations around lead fishing tackle,” Hughes said.