Congress Passes Bill Ensuring Hunter Ed in Schools Continues

September 28, 2023 By: Torin Miller

On September 27, the Protecting Hunting Heritage and Education Act (H.R. 5110) unanimously passed the U.S. Senate and is headed to the President’s desk, after passing the House in near-unanimous fashion just a day prior. Led by Reps. Mark Green (R-TN) and Richard Hudson (R-NC), the bill clarifies the legislative intent of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) and outlines that schools that offer hunter education, archery in the schools, wilderness readiness and similar programs remain eligible for federal funding.

In late July, news spread quickly that the Department of Education (DOE) was withholding certain federal funding from schools that offer hunter education, archery in the schools, or wilderness readiness programs. The reasoning was based on an interpretation – either Department-wide or by a single employee – that the BSCA prohibits the use of federal funds to provide any person with a dangerous weapon or training in the use of a dangerous weapon.

The National Deer Association (NDA) asked the Department to reconsider its interpretation of the amended statute and reinstate the eligibility of hunter safety, archery education and wilderness programs. Fortunately, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle also showed concern. We worked with lawmakers and partner organizations on a legislative fix, and we’re delighted to see quick and incredibly-bipartisan action in both the House and Senate. This quick action shows that Congress never intended for the BSCA to be interpreted in this way, and more importantly, it shows that citizens and lawmakers across the country continue to see the value in teaching our youth about hunting, archery and other outdoor pursuits. We anticipate President Biden adding his name to the bill in short order.

About Torin Miller:

Torin Miller is a licensed attorney and NDA’s Senior Director of Policy. He works at the intersection of conservation and natural resources law, policy, advocacy and education. He has bachelor's and master's degrees in wildlife and fisheries science from Penn State University and a J.D. from Penn State Law. Torin came to NDA via the National Deer Alliance, where he served as the Policy and Outreach Coordinator.