Congress approves funding hunter safety education, archery programs

Legislation to allow federal education funds for hunter safety education and archery programs has been approved by Congress and now heads to President Joe Biden’s desk. 

The Protecting Hunting Heritage and Education Act, reversing a misinterpretation of law that prevented schools from using federal funds for these programs, passed the U.S. House and Senate this past week with support from Alaska’s entire congressional delegation. 

“Today we sent a very clear message that hunting safety and archery are important life skills for countless Americans, especially Alaskans, and that schools may continue to fund these hunter safety heritage programs,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, after the Senate approved the bill. 

The Senate passed the bill on Wednesday, Sept. 27, the day after the House approved the measure by a margin of 424-1. 

Murkowski and Sen. Dan Sullivan noted that the bill corrects a problem created by the Department of Education (DOE) in its guidance for the implementation of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.  Contrary to congressional intent, DOE sought to prohibit schools from using federal education funds for classes and activities that use “dangerous weapons,” which it defined to include hunter safety and archery programs and culinary programs that use certain cutting tools. 

Murkowski met with DOE officials, sent letters urging DOE to rescind its errant guidance, and cosponsored two bills to legislatively restore congressional intent. 


Sullivan said his office had heard from hundreds of Alaskans who were outraged at efforts to subvert school hunting and archery programs that teach vital skills and cultural values integral to the Alaska way of life.