Field & Stream Magazine Lauds Schumer in Its "Heroes & Villains Face-Off" For Supporting the Sporting Industry, Opening Up New Lands for Hunters, Providing Money to FarmersSchumer Helped to Secure Bill, With Lead Sponsor Senator Conrad, That Will Provide Millions in Outdoor Recreation Grants to States, Encouraging Landowners Who Allow Hunting and Fishing on Their LandList Features Schumer and Palin as "Heroes"; Governor Schwarzenegger as "Villain"

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In a rare pairing, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer and Governor Sarah Palin earned honors as "Heroes of the Year" in the Field and Stream Magazine 2008 Heroes & Villains List, while tough guy Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was listed as a "Villain." Schumer garnered the nation's leading outdoor magazine's award for pushing a plan with Senator Kent Conrad to provide millions in outdoor recreation grants to landowners who allow hunting and fishing on their land. Hunters in New York and elsewhere have been greatly restricted by poor access to available hunting land. Governor Sarah Palin was lauded for being the first true hunter to run for executive office since Teddy Roosevelt, according to the magazine.


"Hunting and fishing are not just recreational activities - they're vital parts of the economy. And this bill is a winwin that helps provide desperately needed access to land for our hunters and puts cold, hard cash into the hands of our hardworking farmers," Schumer said. "Receiving Field and Streams' hero award along with Sarah Palin certainly makes an odd couple, but I'm proud of my work to support New York's hunting and fishing community."


Following a report last year that revealed a lack of hunting land, and a growing deer population that is responsible for destroying up to $60 million a year in crops, Senator Schumer joined Senator Conrad in pushing a bill that would provide the opportunity to protect the state's sporting and gaming industry, give upstate farmers additional funding, and control the state's growing deer population. Today, five months after the bill was signed into law, Senator Schumer is being honored as a hero in the outdoor magazine for his efforts to help the hunting, fishing, birding and other wildlife based recreation industries survive.


Each year, more than 82 million Americans and their families engage in some form of wildlifebased recreation - hunting, fishing, birding, and more. In New York State, hunting is prevalent in every region and contributes millions to the state's economy. Between 2006 and 2007, 1,775,887 fishing and hunting licenses were sold in New York.  


However, because as much as 85% of New York's land is privately owned, the state's sportsmen are increasingly struggling to find hunting land. It is estimated that as much as 61% of New York's private lands are posted, meaning hunting is not permitted on them.  The State can purchase land for recreational purposes such as sporting, but this is a lengthy and expensive process.  


To ease the burden on the state, and help Upstate hunters and farmers, Senator Schumer championed a bill, which was proposed by Senator Kent Conrad, called the Voluntary Public Access and Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program Act of 2007.   The bill aimed to encourage landowners to voluntarily allow hunters onto their properties. creates a grant program to which states can apply.  If the state receives a grant, it uses that money to create its own stateadministered program to encourage landowners to allow hunters, fishermen, and birders onto their property.   The program is designed to allow as much choice as possible: states only apply if they choose to do so, and landowners participate voluntarily.  The provision was included in the farm bill, which was enacted in June of 2008. 


For his efforts, Field & Stream, a highly popular sportsman's magazine that features articles on hunting, fishing, and conservation news, today listed Senator Schumer as a hero for supporting the provision to provide payments to states so that they can develop programs to encourage farmers and ranchers to volunteer to make their land accessible to the public for hunting, fishing, birding, and other forms of wildlifebased recreation. Senator Schumer was joined by Governor Sarah Palin who was lauded for being the first true hunter to run for executive office since Teddy Roosevelt.  


The 2008 Field and Stream Heroes and Villains is an annual list of the best and worst in hunting and fishing. Honorees are awarded based on their own hunting activities and for their efforts to either weaken or promote the sport. The list is published in the magazine's Year in Review edition.



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