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H.R. 7398: Prohibit Wildlife Killing Contests Act of 2022


The text of the bill below is as of Apr 5, 2022 (Introduced).

Summary of this bill

This could spell the end of The Simpsons’ “Whacking Day.”

Context

Wildlife killing contests are just what they sound like: competitions for hunters to kill wild species, usually by shooting, with the goal of either killing the most in a set time period or killing the largest specimen of the species.

For the West Texas Big Bobcat Contest, which claims to be the highest-paying such competition in the U.S., 1,715 teams entered the most recent edition to compete for a total $393,950 in prize money.

In 2014, California became the first state to ban the practice. Now, according to the Humane Society of the U.S. eight …


I

117th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 7398

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

April 5, 2022

(for himself, Mr. Blumenauer, Ms. Bush, Mr. Connolly, Mr. Cooper, Mr. Espaillat, Mr. Gallego, Mr. Grijalva, Ms. Jacobs of California, Mr. Levin of Michigan, Ms. Meng, Mr. Nadler, Ms. Norton, Mr. Takano, and Ms. Titus) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources, and in addition to the Committee on Agriculture, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned

A BILL

To prohibit wildlife killing contests on public lands, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Prohibit Wildlife Killing Contests Act of 2022.

2.

Findings

Congress finds the following:

(1)

Wildlife killing contests are organized events in which participants kill animals for cash, prizes, entertainment, or other inducements. Judging categories for wildlife killing contests include, but are not limited to, the number of animals killed, the weight or the sex of animals killed, a tiered point system by species killed, or the smallest or largest body or body part size of animals killed.

(2)

Wildlife killing contests often target ecologically important carnivores, including foxes, bobcats, and coyotes.

(3)

Scientific evidence does not support claims that wildlife killing contests permanently reduce populations of targeted species, increase populations of deer or other game species, or prevent conflict between native carnivores, humans, pets, and livestock.

(4)

Because participants often wastefully discard targeted wildlife, wildlife killing contests do not embody the hunting principles set forth by the North America Wildlife Conservation Model, which includes a requirement that wildlife only be killed for a legitimate purpose. As a result, numerous State agencies and officials have recognized that these contests can undermine public support for hunting and damage the reputation of sportsmen and sportswomen who abide by traditional hunting ethics.

(5)

As of March 1, 2022, Arizona, California, New Mexico, Vermont, Massachusetts, Colorado, Maryland, and Washington have banned wildlife killing contests that target certain species.

(6)

Wildlife killing contests held on Federal lands undermine Federal wildlife management practices, public trust duties, and conservation ethics.

3.

Prohibition on wildlife killing contests

(a)

Prohibitions

(1)

In general

Except as provided in paragraph (2), it is unlawful for any person to organize, sponsor, conduct, or participate in a wildlife killing contest on public land.

(2)

Exceptions

This subsection shall not apply to—

(A)

field trials;

(B)

wildlife killing contests that exclusively target ungulates or birds of the orders Galliformes or Anatidae; or

(C)

lethal control actions by State or Federal agencies that target wildlife classified as invasive by the National Invasive Species Information Center.

(b)

Regulations

Not later than one year after the date of enactment of this Act, each head of a public land management agency shall issue such regulations as are necessary to carry out this section.

(c)

Effect on preemption

This section shall not be construed to preempt or limit any requirement of any law or regulation of a State or political subdivision of a State that is more restrictive than the requirements of this section.

(d)

Definitions

In this section:

(1)

Wildlife killing contest

The term wildlife killing contest means an event in which participants kill wildlife for cash, prizes, or other inducements regardless of value.

(2)

Wildlife

The term wildlife means all animal life except for fish, shellfish, and crustaceans.

(3)

Public land

The term public land means any land—

(A)

owned by the United States; and

(B)

managed by the head of a public land management agency.

(4)

Public land management agency

The term public land management agency means the National Park Service, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation, or the United States Forest Service.

(5)

Field trial

The term field trial means a trial of sporting dogs under field conditions where dogs chase or pursue wild animals under specific rules of nationally or regionally recognized hunting dog associations.