Oregon Court Accepts RMEF’s Brief in Wolf Lawsuit

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Oregon Court of Appeals granted the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s application to file a friend-of-the-Court brief in a lawsuit by animal rights groups seeking to eliminate state wildlife management in Oregon.

“We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, its professional biologists and wildlife managers, and the Fish and Wildlife Commission in carrying out their duty of managing all of Oregon’s wildlife,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “Oregon’s science-based wolf plan indicates wolves reached delisting criteria five years ago.”

As of December 31, 2015, Oregon’s minimum wolf population estimate numbered 110, marking a 26 percent increase over the 2014 population and a 42 percent increase since 2013. Biologists also indicate the actual number of wolves currently in Oregon is likely greater than the minimum estimate.

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission voted to delist wolves from the state Endangered Species Act (ESA) in November of 2015. The Oregon legislature ratified the commission’s decision by passing a bill, which was later signed into law, removing wolves from the state’s endangered species list. Those moves had no immediate effect on wolf management yet animal rights groups still filed suit seeking to reverse the delisting. Read more

Sportsmen’s Alliance, Maine Trappers Victorious in Lynx Lawsuit

On Wednesday, Feb. 15, U.S. District Judge Jon Levy issued his ruling in a lawsuit that sought to revoke the state of Maine’s Incidental Take Permit (ITP), which would open individual trappers to Endangered Species Act (ESA) violations. Judge Levy ruled the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s use and application of ITPs were lawful and in keeping with the requirements of the ESA.

The ruling is a clear victory for the Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation, trappers in Maine and the Maine Department of Inland Fish and Wildlife. In his ruling, Judge Levy found that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s “actions were in keeping with the requirements of the Endangered Species Act…the National Environmental Policy Act…and the Administrative Procedure Act…” Read more

HSUS Claims $11 Million Bribery Settlement was a Win

This from HumaneWatch.org

It’s been a rough end to the year for the Humane Society of the United States. We broke the news a few weeks back that HSUS laid off dozens of staffers in October and closed a wildlife center and, apparently, a horse rescue.

We can tell how damaging the news is because it seems HSUS is pitching journalists to write about how everything’s actually just dandy. Look no further than the Chronicle of Philanthropy publishing a groveling article this month written by freelancer Marc Gunther—a hack writer who has written fawningly of HSUS before. It takes HSUS dishonesty to a whole new level.

The piece essentially reads like it was written by HSUS’s PR department. HSUS’s decline in revenue, apparently $20 million or more, is whizzed by. The layoffs? A mere bump in the road. Never mind that HSUS says it can’t afford to run a $700,000 a year wildlife center. That signifies a financial crisis.

But the most laughable part of the piece was when HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle claimed that HSUS’s 2014 settlement of a fraud, bribery and racketeering lawsuit “set up a huge programmatic victory for us.”

A nearly $11 million settlement, negative news stories, and now years of litigation as HSUS tries to get its insurer to cover the full settlement—Pacelle considers that a win? That’s like arguing the Cleveland Browns are at the top of the class of this year’s NFL.

We shouldn’t be surprised—Pacelle himself made false statements before Congress last year. He’s certainly shown a willingness to bend the truth, whether it’s being a demagogue on the issues or raising money by deceiving millions of Americans who think donations to HSUS will primarily help pets.

Historically, HSUS has gotten a number of “D” and “C” grades from CharityWatch for wasting donor money. If anyone ever graded groups on trustworthiness, HSUS would get an “F.”

Football with Wolves

By Glen Wunderlich

To the dismay of animal-rights extremists, Michigan’s House of Representatives voted 69-39 last week to define wolves as a game species and to authorize the state to designate game species.  If this seems like deja vous, there’s a simple explanation:  It is.  This is the fourth time legislators have addressed wolf-hunting laws.

What has prompted this round of political football relates to a recent ruling by the state appeals court declaring the current law unconstitutional, because an attached-provision providing free hunting licenses to military members was deemed not to be related to scientifically managing wildlife. 

Just how we arrived at such a precarious juncture is worth recalling.  Michigan completed a Wolf Recovery and Management Plan in December 1997, which was revised in 2008. The Michigan plan recommends managing for a minimum of 200 wolves on the Upper Peninsula. The DNR’s goal is to ensure the wolf population remains viable and above a level that would require either federal or state reclassification as a threatened or endangered species.  This sensible plan, however, was rejected by an asinine federal court ruling that placed western Great Lakes states gray wolves back on the endangered species list in 2014, even though agreed-upon recovery goals have been far exceeded.  This decision is being appealed.

While the issue of hunting wolves remains in limbo in our region, Michigan’s legislature has paved the way to manage its wolf population according to sound science with the same sustainability that has been built in with every other game animal hunted. 

The elephant in the room is the struggle between disaffected voters and those citizens living with the devastating effects of wolf conflicts with livestock and companion/hunting dogs.  Never will the residents of the sparsely populated Upper Peninsula garner enough votes to overcome the fallacies of city-slicker voters; if wolves roamed the streets of Detroit, sentiment would certainly be different.

The plight of our Upper Peninsula residents would not be unlike that of our nation, had our forefathers not had the insight to adopt the Electoral College.  James Madison worried about what he called “factions,” which he defined as groups of citizens who have a common interest in some proposal that would either violate the rights of other citizens or would harm the nation as a whole.  Madison’s fear – which Alexis de Tocqueville later  dubbed “the tyranny of the majority” – was that a faction could grow to encompass more than 50 percent of the population, at which point it could “sacrifice to its ruling passion or interest both the public good and the rights of other citizens.”

Little does all of this matter to groups like the Humane Society of the United States, which supports no hunting whatsoever, because it views the lives of animals as being equal to that of humans.

Senator, Tom Casperson, an Escanaba Republican who sponsored two earlier wolf hunting laws overturned by voters in 2014 following petition drives largely backed by the Humane Society of the United States had this to say:  “We didn’t have the money to counter, but we still have the problem up there,” Capserson said last week, referencing fears of human safety and livestock attacks in the Upper Peninsula, home to all of the state’s estimated 618 wolves. “It’s severe. Something’s going to happen one way or another.”

“Anti-hunting extremists will never accept a hunt for wolves, no matter how much damage the species does to other wildlife, livestock or pets,” said Evan Heusinkveld, president and CEO of the Sportsmen’s Alliance.

Hats off to the brave politicians who understand the misdirected enemies of common sense.

How’s HSUS Faring Post-Election?

With the nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to run the EPA must have the execs at the Humane Society of the United States fuming. Pruitt was no fan of HSUS, putting out a public consumer alert against HSUS and opening a well-deserved inquiry into HSUS’s deceptive fundraising. Pruitt’s inquiry was also the subject of some tough questions HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle received from US Senator James Inhofe at a hearing last year. While the EPA and HSUS won’t cross paths too much, Pruitt’s going to have a nice, direct line to a President and other cabinet members.

Overall, election night was a big “L” for HSUS. HSUS’s political arm went in heavily against Donald Trump, calling him essentially the worst threat that could possibly happen to HSUS’s agenda. And he won.

The HSUS world generally supported Democrats. According to FEC filings, HSUS employees spent about $14,000 personally, 100% of which went to Democrats. HSUS’s political action committee made $370,000 in contributions, of which 67% went to Democrats. And HSUS’s legislative fund made about $1.1 million in independent expenditures, with 77% going to Democrats. Democrats are out of power. And of the few Republicans that the HSUS PAC did support, a number lost their bids, such as US Sens. Kelly Ayotte (NH) and Mark Kirk (IL). Read more

No Wolf Hunting in Michigan

This from Michigan United Conservation Clubs…

In some disappointing news, last week the Michigan Court of Appeals sided with the Humane Society of the United States and invalidated the Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, which we all worked so hard to initiate and pass in 2014. HSUS, through their Keep Michigan Wolves Protected front group, challenged the law in the Court of Claims, which upheld it. They appealed that ruling to the Court of Appeals, which ruled that the provision including free licenses for active military members was not related closely enough to scientific wildlife management to be included in the law, and struck the whole thing down.

We think they were in error on two points: 1) It is absurd to say that hunting and fishing licenses have no necessary connection with scientific wildlife management decisions when they literally fund the Department of Natural Resources in both implementing the scientific wildlife decisions of the Natural Resources Commission and the DNR’s time and research that goes into making those decisions. 2) Even if it was unrelated, the Michigan Constitution says that provisions of legislation found unconstitutional should be severed from the rest of the legislation, meaning that the ability of the NRC to make fisheries decisions and name game species using sound science should have been preserved, either way.

It is now up to the the Michigan Attorney General’s office, which represents the State in this case, to pursue an appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court. The AG’s office has been on top of this issue from the beginning and we hope they will continue to defend the State of Michigan’s ability to manage its fish and wildlife with sound science.

Help Michigan United Conservation Clubs defend your hunting rights by joining us at www.mucc.org/join_mucc!

Sportsmen Defeat Montana Trapping Ban

Montana’s Initiative 177 was soundly rejected by voters in the Gem State on the Nov. 8 ballot. The initiative would have banned trapping on all public lands, including city and county parks, municipal golf courses and more. While the final tally is still being determined, a vast majority of precincts have already reported and sportsmen are winning by a wide margin, 63 – 36. 

 

After years of failing to qualify a trapping ban for the state’s ballot, anti-hunting organizations turned to paid signature gatherers in order to do so – qualifying the initiative at the last moment in July. 

 

“We’re extremely pleased that the voters in Montana have seen through the shallow rhetoric from anti-trapping organizations about Initiative 177. This initiative would have had a devastating impact on Montana’s abundant wildlife populations, and posed a serious safety risk to pets and people. Worse, it would have forced Montanans to suffer severe losses before being able to deal with problem wildlife,” said Evan Heusinkveld, president and CEO of Sportsmen’s Alliance. “Today, sportsmen, ranchers and everyone concerned with scientific wildlife management protected the state, its citizens, resources and, most of all, wildlife by defeating this initiative.”   Read more

When Animal Rights Activists Attack

This from humanewatch.org

Civil discourse begins to crumble when people who do not see eye-to-eye cease to civilly communicate with each other and resort to acts of aggression (see current Presidential election!). This notion was on full display last week, when several animal rights activists harassed families seeking one of the quintessential experiences in New York City: riding a horse-drawn carriage through Central Park.horse12n-1-web-300x227

Leading this animal rights goon squad was Eddie Sullivan, a bulky activist who, like The Hulk, you apparently wouldn’t like when he’s angry. Sullivan, along with several other activists, have reportedly badgered and insulted tourists as they try to board the carriages, shouting insults like “typical f***ing ***hole tourists” in front of families with young children, as well as threatening to “make sure people won’t get into the carriage.”

But things went further than just the typical verbal intimidation, as Mr. Sullivan is seen on video approaching one of the carriage drivers, yelling at him and then proceeding to shove him hard into the carriage knocking the 55-year-old man off balance and causing one woman to yell “I have a baby, do you mind.” Sullivan was later charged with misdemeanor assault.

But families in New York City have not been the only victims of this verbal intimidation from animal rights groups.

Another example of this verbal intimidation is the case of a young Spanish boy with cancer Read more

USFWS Decision on Importation of Lion Trophies from South Africa

On October 20, Director of US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) Dan Ashe announced the decision regulating the import of sport-hunted lion trophies under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) from South Africa. The United States will not allow the import of lion trophies taken from captive lion populations in South Africa. However, wild and wild-managed lions from South Africa will receive import permits.
Safari Club International and the hunting community has been waiting for a decision on which range nations would be approved to import lion hunting trophies to the United States since USFWS listed the African lion under the ESA in December 2015.

As for other lion-range countries, Ashe says USFWS is still reviewing permit applications for those areas. The four African nations, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, will only receive permits to import sport hunted lion trophies if USFWS receives sufficient evidence of the long term benefits to their wild lion populations.   USFWS along with CITES has recognized the importance hunting plays in conservation. Ashe stated USFWS determined, “that sport hunting of wild and wild-managed lions does contribute to the long-term conservation of the species in South Africa,” and continued to explain that, “lions are not in trouble because of responsible sport hunting.”

This conclusion is a blow to the anti-hunting rhetoric put forward by organizations such as the Humane Society of the United States and International Fund for Animal Welfare. The USFWS’s conclusion contradicts the assertions made by these anti-hunting organizations. The on the ground facts and the science simply did not support their position.

Not only does hunting enhance the survival of many species but also enhances the communities that support hunting on their land. Communities benefit from trophy hunting through hunting concession payments or other hunter investments, which typically support improved community services like water infrastructure, schools and health clinics; gaining jobs as guides, game guards, wildlife managers and other hunting-related employment; and gaining access to meat.
SCI will continue to work with wildlife authority agencies, in conjunction with professional hunting associations, to provide a clear link between the hunting of lions and the enhancement of the species. Scientific principles, not the emotionalism of anti-hunters, should provide the foundation for the management of wildlife and habitat.   Read Dan Ashe’s announcement on the Huffington Post here.

Sportsmen’s Alliance Presents Oral Arguments in Wolf Case

On Oct. 18, attorneys for the Sportsmen’s Alliance, the federal government and the state of Michigan presented oral arguments in their appeal of the ongoing Great Lakes wolf case. Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota were joined by other states in support of the appeal.

In December 2011, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed wolves from the list of endangered and threatened species, restoring management oversight of the species to Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Unhappy with that delisting, and the subsequent possibility for a wolf hunt, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) sued. The HSUS lawsuit sought to return wolves to Endangered Species Act protections.

Despite overwhelming evidence that wolves are not only recovered, but thriving, in the Western Great Lakes region, in Dec. 2014, a Washington, D.C.-based, U.S. District Court Judge ruled that until the apex predators were deemed recovered throughout their entire historic range – which means from New York City to San Francisco – they could not be delisted. The Sportsmen’s Alliance and the federal and state governments appealed this ruling.

“Under the lower court’s ruling, it doesn’t matter that wolf numbers in the Great Lakes states are two or three times higher than the recovery goals adopted by the federal government in the 1990s. The ruling by the lower court means that until wolves are found in Chicago, Seattle and New York, wolves cannot be managed appropriately by state wildlife experts in the Great Lakes states,” said Evan Heusinkveld, president and CEO of Sportsmen’s Alliance. “The ruling makes absolutely no sense, is legally and factually incorrect, and spells disaster for the future of the Endangered Species Act, wildlife and our entire ecosystem, which is why we’re appealing it.” Read more

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