Hunters and anglers are viewing with apprehension and concern President Obama’s nomination of Sally Jewell to be the new Secretary of the Interior. As the steward of hundreds of millions of acres of public lands – held by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the National Park Service (NPS), and the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) – the Secretary plays a critical role in managing these lands including policies impacting access, hunting opportunities, and wildlife management. Jewell’s close association with interests hostile to hunters, hunting access, and traditional wildlife management has USSA watching her confirmation closely.
It’s common this time of year for political pundits to speculate how the new 113th Congress will impact the lives of everyday Americans. Sportsmen are no different. We also wonder how a newly constituted government made up of a confidently re-elected, lame duck President Obama, a Senate where Democrats increased their majority, and a House where Republicans held fast to their strong majority will make a difference to the future of hunting, fishing, trapping, recreational shooting and more.
The most important thing that the government can do for American sportsmen and women is nothing. Much like the Hippocratic Oath physicians takes upon becoming licensed to practice medicine – “Do No Harm” should be our first wish from the new Congress. However, an increasingly urban country – and urban-based politicians – demands that hunters and anglers emerge from our defensive bunkers, and try to put in place laws that will protect our precious heritage for generations to come.
On December 5th, the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation along with its partners in the case (Safari Club International, Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, and United Sportsmen of Wisconsin) filed our final arguments in the Wisconsin lawsuit seeking to ban hunting wolves using dogs.
You can read much more background information about the case here andhere.
We made several arguments why Judge Anderson should dismiss the case and allow wolf hunting with dogs to move forward. But here’s the best one – Wisconsin law does not permit the Department of Natural Resources to create the unreasonable restrictions on hunting wolves using dogs that the anti-wolf hunting groups want. Here’s why:
Hunters and anglers have something new to worry about in Washington, D.C.: “sequestration.” This technical term refers to looming automatic budget cuts—scheduled to go into effect in January – as a means of reducing the federal deficit. We’re facing these cuts because the Obama Administration, Senate, and House of Representatives have not been able to agree on a federal budget and pass specific bills to fund the government, while reducing the annual deficit. Without Congressional action to pass a budget and particular spending bills after the election, large automatic across the board funding cuts will be triggered in 2013.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation reported on an anti-hunting lawsuit aimed at stopping Wisconsin’s wolf hunt. The lawsuit, filed by a coalition of Wisconsin humane societies and several individuals, against the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR), claims that the use of dogs to hunt wolves violates the state’s animal cruelty laws and seeks to block the issuance of all wolf hunting licenses. Despite the fact that the State’s animal cruelty laws do not apply to hunting, the groups claim that hunting wolves using dogs will result in dog fighting and that it violates the animal cruelty law.
Apparently worried that their case could be thrown out, the anti-hunting groups have filed an amended complaint with some new allegations about wolf hunters and hunting. The claims are so outrageous that I’m not sure whether sportsmen should be furious or just laugh. Here they are:
The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance has long been concerned over provisions within the Endangered Species Act that anti-hunting groups are using more and more to get large government payouts for filing lawsuits that do not help the recovery of threatened or endangered species. Many of these lawsuits even threaten to stop hunting, fishing, or trapping.
Documents provided by the U.S. Department of Justice to the House Natural Resources Committee show that our federal government is giving millions of taxpayer dollars to anti-hunting organizations. Anti-hunting groups like the Center for Biological Diversity, the Humane Society of the United States, Defenders of Wildlife, and the Sierra Club are cashing in – on your dime.
In a July 23rd memo titled “Greening Headquarters Update” the United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) encouraged its employees to participate in “Meatless Mondays” where employees would forgo eating any meat on Mondays.
The USDA’s “Meatless Monday” memo (see page 3) reads like it could have come straight from an animal rights organization’s website. Here are some quotes: