Conservation News

Bill to reinstate funding for hunter education and shooting programs heads to President’s desk

EDGEFIELD, S.C. —In what is tantamount to lightspeed, both chambers of congress rallied together this week to fix language from the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act of 2022 that allowed the U.S. Department of Education to pull certain federal funding from schools that have hunter education and archery and other shooting programs.

On Tuesday, the House of Representatives pushed through the Protecting Hunting Heritage and Education Act (H.R. 5110), a bipartisan bill introduced by Reps. Mark Green (TN) and Richard Hudson Jr. (NC) with 67 co-sponsors and a near unanimous vote of 424-1.

On Wednesday, a bipartisan group of senators pushed through its companion bill, the Defending Hunters’ Education Act (S. 2735), introduced by Sen. Jon Tester (MT) and 13 other cosponsors. It unanimously passed the Senate.

Earlier this summer, the Department of Education interpreted overly broad language in the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act of 2022, which was intended by congress to prohibit the training of teachers and other staff in the use of deadly weapons, to pull Elementary and Secondary Education Act funding from schools that house hunter education, archery, shooting and other school-based programs that involve training in the use of “deadly weapons,” which also could include cooking classes.

“We are grateful to the members of congress who acted swiftly to protect these important enrichment programs in our schools and to our members who called and wrote their representatives in support of this fix,” said Kurt Dyroff, NWTF Co-CEO, “Hunters, anglers and recreational shooters are the lifeblood of the conservation funding and wildlife and fisheries management systems in the United States. Having opportunities for students to participate in programs that lead them to the outdoors are crucial to the continuation of our outdoor heritage and the health and wellbeing of the nation’s youth.”

About the National Wild Turkey Federation

Since 1973, the National Wild Turkey Federation has invested over half a billion dollars into wildlife conservation and has conserved or enhanced over 22 million acres of critical wildlife habitat. The organization continues to drive wildlife conservation, forest resiliency and robust recreational opportunities throughout the U.S. by working across boundaries on a landscape scale.

2023 is the NWTF’s 50 th anniversary and an opportunity to propel the organization’s mission into the future while honoring its rich history. For its 50 th anniversary, the NWTF has set six ambitious goals: positively impact 1 million acres of wildlife habitat; raise $500,000 for wild turkey research; increase membership to 250,000 members; dedicate $1 million to education and outreach programs; raise $5 million to invest in technology and NWTF’s people; and raise $5 million to build toward a $50 million endowment for the future.  Learn how you can help us reach these lofty goals.

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