How the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance Works

By: Simon Shadow
Man standing on landscape with holding gun.
Tyler Stableford/Taxi/Getty Images

Serious outdoor sport­smen have rarely seemed to take their hunting, fishing and trapping rights for granted. The laws regarding hunting have changed numerous times over the years and will probably continue to do so. As legislators try to protect wildlife and natural resources, anti-hunting groups try to halt what they consider the wasteful slaughter of wildlife. All the while, conservationists try to find a better way to maintain and protect natural resources, leaving hunters and anglers often caught in the middle of the endless battles.

That's where the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance (USSA) comes in. Considering itself the "Premier defender of sportsmen's rights", the alliance has members spanning the country and is backed by some of the biggest names in outdoor sports [source: USSA].


Founded in Ohio, the alliance was formed to fight laws that sought to limit or prevent men, women and youth from engaging in their outdoor passions. Today, the alliance continues to fight for sportsmen's rights and conservation issues that creep up all over the country.

­In this article, you will learn about the history of the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance and some of the tough stances that it has taken to ensure the rights of outdoor sportsmen stay intact. You will find out about the mission of the alliance, and the reasons why individuals, clubs and corporations continue to support its efforts. And you will see why conservationists and youth are joining up with other U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance members to get back to nature and defend their rights.

You will also learn about member coalitions that you might be interested in, different levels of memberships that you can join, volunteering opportunities that exists and causes that are supported by members and donations alike.

Let's move on to the history of the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance and find out exactly why it was created.


History of the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance

When you think about hunting issues today, generally you think of the NRA and gun laws. Gun bans and regulations are often in the news, keeping this at the forefront of the nation's attention. These issues get even more publicity when­ entertainers like Rosie O'Donnell and the late Charlton Heston address them. But the struggle isn't reserved for legislators and high-profile people -- hunters and conservationists fight anti-hunting, trapping and gun laws, too.

­The U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance and the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance Foundation started working on a national level after a 1977 Ohio Ballot issue proposed to amend the constitution and ban trapping within the state. Since that time, the USSA and its partner foundation have continued defending the passions of outdoor sportsmen and women from legislation, ballot issues and even lawsuits through grassroots movements and direct lobbying [source: USSA].


The coalitions within the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance include:

  • The Bowhunter Rights Coalition was started to defend bowhunters rights against animal rights groups including the Humane Society and the Fund for Animals.
  • The Sporting Dog Defense Coalition (SDDC) unifies national and local hunting dog groups in order to protect sport hunting with dogs.
  • The Bear Hunter Rights Coalition was started in 2005 by established bear hunting organizations across the country to keep bear hunting legal across the nation.

Through their mission of protecting hunting rights, the USSA also works to protect wildlife and conservation efforts across the country. Next, you'll learn more about the mission of this alliance and what it entails.


Mission of the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance

The missi­on of the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance is "to protect and advance America's ­heritage of hunting, fishing and trapping" [source: USSA]. They do this by:

  • Responding to and preventing legal and legislative attacks
  • Drumming up public support
  • Encouraging participants to partake in the outdoors as a family
  • Promoting the role of conservation to every outdoorsman

The Foundation of the USSA encompasses programs and funds that further its mission including:


  • The Trailblazer Adventure Program introduces families to outdoor sports under the guidance of sportsmen and wildlife professionals.
  • The U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance Foundation Endowment works with individuals wanting to make charitable contributions through estate planning.
  • The U.S. Sportsmen's Legal Defense Fund provides legal services to sportsmen in outdoor sporting lawsuits and supports government agencies in their legal work.
  • The U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance Legacy Society works with members in helping them establish a legacy through gift planning [source: USSA].

­If you are an avid hunter and you want to do more to help protect the rights of hunters, trappers and anglers in the United States, but are unsure how to do it, you might consider joining the USSA.

Next up, you will learn about the different coalitions that are housed under the USSA umbrella, the different membership levels available and how you can join the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance.


Joining the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance

The U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance has several different membership levels and pro­grams you can join right from their Web site. Individuals and clubs can purchase general memberships or a specific coalition:

  • Bowhunter Rights Coalition(BRC)
  • Sporting Dog Defense Coalition (SDDC)
  • Bear Hunter Right Coalition (BHR) [source: USSA]

Club membership benefits include insurance programs, merchandise discounts on gear and other items that are offered through the USSA, banquet packages through the USSA inventory and a personalized Web site program.


Individuals wanting to become members of the USSA receive the following benefits (depending on membership level):

  • Annual newsletter
  • Member card
  • Coalition-specific quarterly newsletter
  • Logo Cap
  • Logo T-Shirt
  • Logo hunting knife
  • Decal [source: USSA]

­Special donation programs are available for those individuals or organization that need more than general memberships. The USSA Outdoor Business Council offers ways for businesspersons to form alliances, preserve outdoor sports and promote their sporting legacy to consumers and sportsmen. The U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance Foundation Endowment program provides a way for individuals and organizations to donate through wills or estate planning and decrease federal income and property taxes. The U.S. Sportsmen Legal Defense Fund accepts donations so they can provide legal services and support to government agencies and sportsmen. The Hunting for America campaign seeks donations and volunteers so they may grow their numbers to help ensure they can continue to serve hunters everywhere [source: USSA].

The U.S. Sportsman Alliance has many coalitions and many resources that are used to ensure hunting, fishing and trapping remain available to those passionate about outdoor sports. For more information, visit the links on the next page.


Lots More Information

Relat­ed HowStuffWorks Articles

More Great Links

  • The U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance. (accessed 12/12/08)