News

Southeast: States Provide Hunter Education Course Options and Ease Restrictions during COVID-19 Pandemic

As the nation continues to adjust to social distancing requirements, some state fish and wildlife agencies are providing alternatives to hunter education course requirements while other states are easing access restrictions for anglers that were imposed due to COVID-19.

These waivers and revisions allow sportsmen and women to participate in hunting and fishing activities as long as the necessary social distancing requirements are maintained. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) and conservation partners are promoting the #ResponsibleRecreation social media campaign that encourages people to hunt and fish while adhering to the Centers for Disease Control guidelines. In a related effort, CSF and other members of the American Wildlife Conservation Partners sent a letter to governors to encourage them to maintain open access for hunters and anglers.

Kentucky

The Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources altered the range day requirement for their internet-based hunter’s education course. In response to the COVID-related restrictions, a “virtual range day” has been instituted for those wanting to complete the hunter education course prior to May 15. A few different vendors offer an online hunter education course, including one that offers the course for free. Interested individuals can access the courses and the virtual range day here.

North Carolina

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (WRC) waived the field day component for their hunter education course for individuals who want to purchase their hunting license during the COVID-19 pandemic. The WRC offers three online hunter education courses, ranging from $13.00 to $29.00, as an alternative to the traditional classroom course. Upon successful completion, the hunter can print the temporary hunter education card to purchase their license. Those interested in this convenient alternative can access the online course offerings here.

Mississippi

In an effort to ease restrictions for anglers in Mississippi, Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus Member Governor Tate Reeves issued Executive Order 1473, which allows the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) to reopen state lakes and state park lakes for fishing and boating on April 20. The MDWFP announced that bank fishing will also be permitted on these lakes as long as social distancing requirements are observed.

South Carolina

In similar fashion, Governor Henry McMaster granted authority to local governments or managing authorities to reopen public boat landings and ramps for launching and retrieving boats on April 17. Executive Order 2020-25 also clarified that while public access may be reopened for lakes, the rafting or beaching of boats is still prohibited for the duration of the State of Emergency.

With turkey seasons and fishing seasons underway across the South, CSF commends these efforts to ease restrictions for hunters and anglers during this time.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Seeks Comments on Firearm Possession Revision

Last week, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) published an announcement to seek public comment on a proposed revision to an existing regulation governing the possession and transportation of firearms and other sporting equipment at USACE managed projects and locations.

Currently, sportsmen and women are prohibited from possessing firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment on USACE managed lands and waters unless the equipment is unloaded during transportation to hunting and fishing sites, in possession at authorized shooting ranges, or written permission has been received from a USACE District Commander. As such, sportsmen and women may not possess such equipment for personal protection while participating in outdoor recreation activities unless they have received written permission.

This proposed revision will eliminate the requirement to obtain written permission to carry a firearm and other equipment on USACE projects, which will strengthen the ability of sportsmen and women to safely participate in hunting and fishing on federal lands and waters. Furthermore, the proposal will also align USACE’s regulations to be more consistent with other federal land management agencies as well as state and local regulations regarding the possession for firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment.

The public comment closes on June 12.

ATF Seeks Assistance with Cold Case

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is seeking the public’s assistance in identifying a suspect responsible for the burglary and theft of multiple firearms and firearm silencers from Schupbach’s Sporting Goods, located at 141 W. Pearl Street, Jackson, Michigan, on May 8, 2013.

On that date, an unknown individual entered the business at approximately 4:30 p.m. and concealed himself in the business. After closing time, the male suspect emerged and stole two firearms and 15 firearms silencers. To date, none of those stolen items have been recovered. The individual may be a suspect in another unrelated crime. Given the passage of time, this individual may have left the Michigan area.

Anyone with information about this crime or recognizing this person should contact ATF at 1-800-ATF-GUNS (800-283-4867). Information can also be sent to ATFTips@atf.gov, or through ATF’s website at www.atf.gov/contact/atftips. Tips can be submitted anonymously using the Reportit app or by visiting www.reportit.com.

SHOT Show 2020 Range Day Highlights

Each year before industry insiders flock to the halls of the Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade Show – better known as SHOT Show – a contingent of firearm folks head out into the desert of southwest Nevada for a pre-show lineup of exhibitors. Live ammunition is forbidden on the SHOT Show floor and any firearms in the exhibit hall must be disabled and are inspected to ensure that they are non-functional.

This policy, however, is not in effect at the annual SHOT Show Industry Day at the Range in Boulder City. Not by a long shot.

At this pre-show demo day, invited members of the media and buyers have the opportunity to meet with manufacturers and vendors among smaller crowds than those at SHOT Show proper. Attendees also have the opportunity to get hands-on live fire trigger time with the latest guns and gear to hit the market and many that are yet to be released. The GunLink team has again been invited to this event and did just that.

We got to see some pretty great firearms and gear at Range Day that seem to indicate that the industry has actually been listening to consumers and developing some new products that fit their needs. And the show has not even begun yet! If this demo day is an indication of what else we will be seeing at SHOT Show 2020, we think this will be a great year for a firearms industry that has shown some signs of slowing down somewhat in the past couple of years.

Read on to see our Range Day highlights and be sure to watch the GunLink Blog and GunLink Forums for more.   Continue reading

ATF Offers $20K for Information on California Halloween Shooting

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) announced a reward of up to $20,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individual(s) responsible for the deadly Halloween mass shooting. On October 31, 2019, a shooting incident occurred at a house party in Orinda, CA. The party was held at an Airbnb. The shooting resulted in the deaths of 5 people and injuries to 9 others.

Anyone with any information about this crime should contact ATF at 1-(888)-ATF-TIPS (1-888-283-8477) or by visiting www.reportit.com or through the mobile “reportit” app, available both on Google Play and the Apple App Store. All calls will remain confidential.

SAAMI Announces Acceptance of Two New Cartridges

The Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute Inc., (SAAMI), the organization at the forefront of promoting firearms safety by creating standards that ensure safety, reliability and interchangeability of firearms, ammunition and components, announced the acceptance of a new shotshell cartridge and a new centerfire rifle cartridge for SAAMI standardization.

Developed by Federal Ammunition, the 12-Gauge 1¾-inch shotshell was introduced with a maximum average pressure of 11,500 psi, with a 15/16-ounce #8 lead shot load traveling at a velocity of 1,145 feet per second (fps), a 15-pellet #4 lead buckshot load traveling at a velocity of 1,200 fps and a 1-ounce lead rifled slug traveling at a velocity of 1,200 fps.

Developed by Nosler, the 6.5-284 Norma rifle cartridge was introduced with a maximum average pressure of 58,000 psi, with a 130-grain bullet traveling at a velocity of 2,900 fps.

More information on both cartridges can be found here.

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