Anti-Hunting Legislation Looming in Maryland - Desert Rat - The Musings of Desert Rat… Hunting and Fishing in the Southwest… and Beyond!

Anti-Hunting Legislation Looming in Maryland



110 North Carolina Ave., Washington, DC 20003


All Media: For Immediate Release

February 7, 2008

Contact Allan Ellis, Director of Communications

[email protected] or 202-543-6850 extension 19

Anti-Hunting Bills, Meet the Sportsmen’s Secret Weapon:

The Maryland Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus

Annapolis, MD - The time-honored practice of passing down the tradition of hunting from one generation to another is threatened by a new bill introduced in the Maryland Legislature. The needless bill would establish a minimum age for a young person to be able to purchase a hunting license. There is now no minimum age requirement. This means that although a young person would be able to accompany his adult family members or mentor, they would be unable to participate by carrying a bow or firearm or harvesting any game.

But, HB655 is only one of several anti-sportsmen’s bills introduced into the Maryland Assembly this session. Sportsmen’s first line of defense to protect and defend Maryland’s rich traditions of hunting and fishing as well as the Second Amendment is the Maryland Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus and the Maryland Legislative Sportsmen’s Foundation.

Now your kid can’t hunt…

HB655: The ‘Hunting License – Minimum Age’ Bill was introduced by Delegates Barbara Frush and Virginia Clagett and prohibits the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) from issuing a license to any youngster under the minimum age of thirteen. The danger is that by the time a youngster becomes old enough to legally obtain a hunting license; other interests may occupy his or her time - which is just what the anti-hunting crowd is hoping for.

Too cuddly?

HB657: The ‘Black Bear Hunt – Prohibition’ Bill. Introduced by Del. Frush and Del. James Hubbard, establishes the black bear as a non-game mammal, prohibits the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) from reducing the population and prohibits DNR from establishing a hunting season. This bill has been blocked by the caucus for the last four sessions yet continues to surface, even though DNR’s Wildlife & Heritage Service has conducted four highly successful, safe and extremely well run black bear seasons.

And, one bill to watch is HB378. Language in this ‘animal cruelty bill’ could affect hunting.

Gun Stolen? You’re the Criminal…

SB585: The ‘Regulated Firearms – Reporting Lost or Stolen’ Bill. This bill requires gun dealers or anyone that sells or transfers a gun to inform the buyer that if the firearm is lost or stolen, they must report the loss or theft, once discovered, within 72 hours to the local law enforcement agency. If the loss or theft is not reported within the time frame, the firearm owner becomes the criminal and is charged with a misdemeanor. A fine of $750 or 90 days in jail faces the victim of the crime.

How about $100 for a box of shotgun shells…

HB517: The ‘Encoded Ammunition’ Bill. Long story short; each bullet and each casing would be engraved with matching serial numbers and each box of ammunition would have the same SN as the ammunition. All handguns and a list of ‘assault-type’ rifles and shotguns that would require encoded ammunition are included in this bill. That’s right, shotgun shells and .22 calibers are included. The costs to manufacturers in time and retooling would be astronomical and the cost of ammunition could easily increase tenfold or more.

The bill also calls for a nickel tax to be added the price of each round. The tax-per-round goes into a special fund to maintain the database of all the encoded ammunition purchased in the state. Personal freedoms are also assailed; when you buy a box of encoded ammunition, you must present your identification. Your personal information and how much ammo you purchase are entered into the State Police database. Can you say ‘big brother’?

Who Speaks for Sportsmen?

Even though Maryland has many chapters of leading conservation organizations and gun clubs that testify for or against pending legislation, standing in the gap and giving voice where it counts are the members of the actively engaged Maryland Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus backed by the Maryland Legislative Foundation. Formed in 2001 and comprised of only elected members of the Maryland House and Senate, the caucus has stood its ground and blocked legislation like HB655 in the past. The Foundation provides the assistance that the caucus needs to be successful and continues to monitor each bill that affects fishing, hunting and trapping in Maryland’s annual assembly in Annapolis. Since the formation of the caucus, it’s been highly successful along the way.

The list of some of the caucus’s statutory accomplishments is impressive. Accomplishments include, Sunday hunting of deer for the first time since 1723; enactment of the Maryland Hunting Heritage Protection Act (No-Net-Loss); worked towards opening 58,000 acres of Chesapeake Lands for public/private hunting and creation of a legislative study to assess the benefits of a Freedom to Fish Act. The caucus has consistently blocked efforts to prohibit leghold traps and efforts to impose a black bear hunting moratorium (this one is back in 2008 as HB657). Perhaps their most important accomplishment is to elevate the status of sportsmen and their contributions to Maryland’s economy.

The bi-partisan Maryland Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus is an affiliate of the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses (NASC), which is comprised of 34 state caucuses nationwide.

Maryland’s caucus leaders in Annapolis include Senator John Astle, Senator George Edwards, Delegate Richard Weldon and Delegate Susan Kullen. Senator Astle is also the President of the NASC Executive Council. The Maryland Legislative Sportsmen’s Foundation is modeled after the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) in Washington. The Foundation’s Co-Chairmen are Bill Miles and David Sutherland.

Bill Miles commented on the pending legislation, “The forces that work against hunters, fishermen, gun owners and trappers are never-ending. They introduce legislation year-after-year and find new ways to attack us. Although we have won many victories in Maryland, we remain on guard and will continue to engage the policy-makers to protect the rights of sportsmen.”

Senator John Astle (D-AA) remarked, “As a hunter, I find it rewarding work to be able to block the antis in their efforts to destroy the values that sportsmen enjoy. The Caucus and its partner, the Foundation, deserve the support of the outdoors community for all the successes we all enjoy.”

Finally, there is some good news for sportsmen, too…

One positive conservation bill so far is the introduction of SB431: The ‘Forest Conservation - No Net Loss of Forest’ Bill. Similar to the Hunting Heritage Protection Act, this ‘no net loss’ bill protects forest acreage.

For hunters, HB840 and HB978 are two bills to expand Sunday bowhunting on private lands in both Washington and Montgomery Counties have been introduced.


About the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses (NASC)

The National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses, a program of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF), serves as the umbrella organization for 34 affiliated state legislative sportsmen’s caucuses. NASC is the leader in providing information to protect and promote sportsmen’s issues within state’s legislatures, serving as the venue for focused interaction and idea exchange among state caucus leaders, and the outdoors community. For additional information, visit the NASC website at or call 202-543-6907.

To learn more about how Maryland’s 521,000 sportsmen spend $2.4 million per day, visit for the full report.

For more information on ammunition serialization, visit the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s website at,

Allan Ellis

Director of Communications

Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation

110 North Carolina Ave., SE

Washington, DC 20003

202-543-6850 Extension 19

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