CBD Files Suit to Challenge the Congressional Review Act and Undermine Alaska’s Wildlife Management

This from Safari Club International

On April 20, 2017, the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) filed a lawsuit to challenge the constitutionality of the Congressional Review Act (CRA).  The CRA gives Congress authority to review and nullify federal regulations with which Congress does not agree within a 60-day period after the rules are finalized.    CBD’s suit focuses on a component of the CRA that prohibits federal agencies from issuing rules that are “substantially the same” as regulations previously nullified by a congressional joint resolution.  CBD claims that this prohibition interferes with the constitutional separation of powers between Congress and the executive branch.

The purpose of CBD’s suit is to invalidate House Joint Resolution 69 (H.J. 69), which was signed by the President on April 3.  H.J. 69 nullified a regulation adopted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) at the end of the Obama administration that prohibited forms of hunting on all National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska.    SCI and its two Alaska chapters have long opposed the FWS regulations that were the subject of H.J. 69.

In January 2017, just before the new Administration took office, SCI filed suit to challenge those hunting restrictions.  SCI’s suit also challenges similar National Park Service (NPS) regulations that prohibit forms of hunting on all National Preserves in Alaska and challenges regulations regarding hunting and access on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.  The State of Alaska also filed a similar suit as did the Alaska Professional Hunters Association and the Sportsmen’s Alliance.   SCI also worked hard to help win passage of H.J. 69 by both houses of Congress and its approval by the President.  Read more

MI DNR unveils 2017 turkey cooperator patch


With spring turkey season under way, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources encourages hunters to purchase a wild turkey cooperator patch.The 2017 turkey patch, designed by Sylvia Smith of Lake Orion High School, now is available for purchase. Each year, Michigan students in grades K-12 are given the opportunity to submit designs for the DNR’s annual wild turkey management cooperator patch. The Michigan chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, in partnership with DNR, coordinates the wild turkey patch program. Read more

Turkey Hunting Tips

By Glen Wunderlich

Finding wild turkeys to hunt sure isn’t as difficult as it once was.  The sheer numbers of turkeys across the land remain a glaring testament to the widely successful efforts of sportsmen and women to reestablish the once-threatened master of strut.

Back in the ‘70s and before digital everything, I’d travel the two-tracks in Montmorency County in my go-anywhere VW Rabbit scanning the fields during the daytime.  At sunset, atop the tallest hill, where I could see for miles in every direction, I’d glass during the waning light in hopes of finding their roosting trees.

The adventure of the chase and the anticipation of bagging my first bird kept me going for years, because that’s all I had to show for my time afield.  It all seemed so mysterious.  Since then, however, turkey hunting techniques and gear have become as plentiful as the magnificent birds themselves.  Here are a few tips to take advantage of the developments in technology.

The single-most useful tool to come along over the years is the portable blind.    One blind I’ve used for many years has turned a rosy red in color from the ultraviolet rays of the sun, and although its conspicuous presence can be picked off by other hunters, it remains invisible to turkeys.

The larger blinds can be erected in advance, so there’s less gear to tote afield when hunting.  Camera gear, seats, and hunting partners are all welcome – even in rainy weather, which brings to mind some comforting thoughts.  It all has to do with what I call “paying dues.” 

Since springtime rain is inevitable, use it to your advantage.  Turkeys have superior hearing and the steady sound of rain tapping the leaves on the forest floor is disconcerting to a wary gobbler’s safety.  By placing a blind near a bottleneck opening to a field, you may find that turkeys are quite comfortable in the openness.  There they congregate to a natural synergy afforded to them by keen eyesight and where hearing is less consequential.  Rain also stifles the flying abilities of insects, making them vulnerable prey to feeding birds.  Earthworms and night crawlers also appear to the turkeys’ delight.

Inside the blind, you may fire up a portable heater to take the chill and dampness out of mix.  An old blanket can be stored inside a plastic bag and deployed over the bare ground within the shelter for quietness and comfort.  You’ll also want the blind to be as dark as possible inside, so keep the windows behind you closed.

Utilizing some type of rest for a shotgun can add a dose of confidence on any shot.  Farther shots require a centering pattern to maximize effectiveness, while close-in shots with their tight patterns can turn into clean misses unless spot-on. 

It’s best to practice some actual shotgun positioning before any birds are at hand.  If you don’t use shooting sticks, use the windows of the blind to rest your gun’s barrel.  Stay back from the window’s opening as far as possible ensuring that the muzzle is outside of the blind.  Don’t wait for the moment of truth to experiment!

I like to keep calling to a minimum and rely more on the attractiveness of a lone hen decoy.  After all, you’ve done your homework and know the birds’ routines.  Pay your dues and they will come.

P&Y Names New World Record Typical Mule Deer During First-Ever Special Panel

Chatfield, MN – On the 13 of August, 2016 under clear blue skies amidst the sagebrush of southeastern Nevada, Frank Cheeney, accompanied by his son Aaron, arrowed the largest typical mule deer ever taken with a bow.

“My son Aaron and I headed out a bit late that morning, and we began glassing the area as soon as we arrived,” said Frank Cheeney. “We spotted a bunch of bucks bedded down in a sagebrush flat and after some discussion (I use the word “discussion” lightly), Aaron decided that I needed to try to put a stalk on the bedded bucks in the hopes of getting a shot. As we watched them, we noted that they were calm and looking in the opposite direction. Putting a stalk on a group of bucks with sagebrush as your only cover usually does not end well for the hunter, but Aaron felt strongly that I could put the sneak on them and end up with a good shot. I reluctantly kicked off my shoes and crouched down behind the taller brush and began my approach. As luck would have it, the breeze was blowing straight in my face as I headed towards the bucks. They seemed oblivious to my presence. As fate would have it, the biggest buck stood up from his bed. I drew my bow and with the deer in my sights I let the arrow fly.” Read more

West Virginia: Sunday Hunting Legislation Heads to Governor’s Desk

GW:  Never thought it would happen in my lifetime.  The bible belt has long resisted Sunday hunting, but the people have spoken.

Legislation to expand Sunday hunting opportunities in West Virginia has passed both legislative chambers and is expected to be signed into law by Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus member Governor Jim Justice.

Senate Bill 345, sponsored by West Virginia Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chair Senator Mark Maynard, legalizes Sunday hunting statewide on private lands with the written permission of the landowner.

Senate Bill 345 was passed on March 1 with a 26-6 vote. Technical amendments to the bill were adopted by the House in early April, and the House voted 94-5 to pass the bill on April 6. The Senate concurred in the House amendments the following day, and the bill is currently awaiting the Governor’s signature.

Sen. Maynard said, “It was an honor to work with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources to enact legislation that will promote tourism and double the number of days the working man has to hunt.” Read more

DSC Frontline Foundation Rushes Emergency Funds to Continue Helicopter Search for Missing Guide

DALLAS TX – A professional South African hunting guide has been missing from a hunting expedition in Zimbabwe since Friday, April 7. An extensive land and air search is underway to find Scott van Zyl but the guide has yet to be found. DSC Frontline Foundation has approved an emergency grant to support the helicopter search efforts.

Van Zyl and his tracker left their vehicle and set off on foot into a rural area. Both men split up and traveled in different directions with van Zyl never returning to the vehicle. The guide’s dog returned and a cursory search of the area turned up no trace of the guide. Van Zyl reportedly left his firearm and personal items in the vehicle. Helicopter search teams spotted van Zyl’s backpack on the banks of Limpopo River but the man was not found.

“The Frontline Foundation wants to do all that is possible so the search for Scott can continue,” said DSC Frontline Foundation President Karl Evans. “We hold out hope that he will be found alive soon. Scott has worked with DSC members in the past and he is someone we consider a colleague and friend. Our hearts and prayers go out to Scott’s wife and children in this time of uncertainty.”

A friend of van Zyl who is involved with the search said they would need approximately R500,000 (US$36,000) to keep the helicopters in the air. The Heritage Protection Group, the SA Professional Hunters’ Association and Limpopo’s search and rescue teams are still searching for the guide.

Individuals or groups who wish to help fund the search and rescue of Scott van Zyl can either donate at this GoFundMe page or make a tax deductible directed donation by credit card to the DSC Frontline Foundation here by following the donate and support link. Donators should be sure to indicate the donation is for van Zyl. Read more

HSUS Helps PETA-Linked Group Lobby on Capitol Hill

If you watch any of the ads from the Humane Society of the United States you likely think it’s related to all the local humane societies that care for pets—name confusion is how it raises millions of dollars a year. HSUS also likes to imply that it’s a mainstream animal welfare group that doesn’t work together with radical animal rights groups. Given how many staff members at HSUS come from PETA and other extremist elements, we know that’s not true. And emails from an ethics investigation is one more bit of evidence that HSUS works with fringe elements.

The emails come from a Congressional ethics investigation involving former Congressman Ed Whitfield and his wife, who is an HSUS lobbyist. Whitfield resigned last year after the investigation reprimanded Rep. Whitfield for giving his wife special privileges by allowing her to use his office’s resources to further HSUS’s lobbying.

The emails show that the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) asked HSUS for help in getting sponsors on a bill to ban the military from using animals to practice battlefield medical procedures, and received it:

“I’d be more than happy to help hook you up with our friends in [Sen.] Blumenthal’s office,” replied Jessica Feingold-Lieberson, then with HSUS. (She’s the daughter of former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, who lost last fall despite HSUS’s political arm spending a pretty penny on ads in his favor.)

What is the “Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine”? It’s a PETA-linked group that advocates for veganism while wearing white coats. PCRM has received funding from The PETA Foundation, and PCRM president Neal Barnard reportedly lived with PETA president Ingrid Newkirk. Barnard also “co-signed letters, on PCRM letterhead, with the leader of Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, an animal-rights group the Department of Justice calls a ‘domestic terrorist threat,’” according to Newsweek, and has uttered such ridiculous proclamations as, “To give a child animal products is a form of child abuse.” (Kids who enjoy chocolate milk would disagree.)

The American Medical Association has previously called PCRM a “fringe organization” that uses “unethical tactics” and is “interested in perverting medical science.”

Last we heard, only around 10% of PCRM’s members were actually physicians. No surprise why: PCRM is notorious for campaigns comparing hot dogs to cigarettes. Its advocacy is as silly as PETA’s; even The Daily Show couldn’t resist making fun of PCRM a few years ago.

That’s probably why HSUS doesn’t publicly work with PCRM. But when it comes to fringe animal liberation groups, HSUS is all too happy to assist under the radar.

Improved NWTF Gobble Map Available for 2017 Seasons

EDGEFIELD, S.C. — Turkey hunters across the U.S. are flocking to the newly improved 2017 NWTF Gobble Map app. National Wild Turkey Federation’s “turkey hunter toolkit” app is made possible, completely free of charge on both Android and Apple devices, thanks to contributions from leading turkey hunting brands, including Federal Premium Ammunition, Flextone, Avian-X, Yamaha Outdoors and Cabela’s.

Users of the NWTF Gobble Map will find a variety of features focused on getting the information they need to have a better day in the field, including reports of turkey activity in their area, public land maps, harvest reports and more. Plus, hunters can now score their bird, receive push notifications for areas they might hunt and view trends on an interactive heat map.

“NWTF Gobble Map was designed with privacy in mind, so hunters can be assured no one will know their locations,” said Doug Saunders, chief marketing and strategy officer for the National Wild Turkey Federation. “And with the help of the expert biologists at the NWTF, Gobble Map has become a must-have addition to any turkey hunter’s phone.” Read more

Boone and Crockett Club: Sportsmen’s Act Back On Track

>MISSOULA, Mont. (April 4, 2017) – The Boone and Crockett Club, the oldest wildlife conservation group in the U.S., today praised the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s passage of S. 733, a bipartisan sportsmen’s package, by voice vote.

“This is good news for all sportsmen and sportswomen who list access to places to hunt, fish and recreate on public lands as their number one concern,” said Ben B. Hollingsworth, Jr., president of the B&C Club. “Where these activities happen, conservation happens, but sportsmen need access.”
The Sportsmen’s Act of 2017, which is built upon previous Sportsmen’s Acts, addresses many priorities for American hunters, anglers and recreational shooters. The House Natural Resources Committee has also indicated interest in introducing similar legislation during this session.Previous sportsmen’s bills have enjoyed broad bipartisan support but have stalled for various reasons, including other legislative priorities and the 2016 elections.
The Boone and Crockett Club and a long list of hunting, fishing, shooting and conservation organizations have long supported an increased focus on access to public lands, which is where millions of people go to participate in these traditional outdoor activities. This bill will pave the way for taking down an entanglement of barriers to federal land while also allowing land management agencies to enhance access.
“The bill also includes a Boone and Crockett top priority measure, the Open Book on Equal Access to Justice Act,” explained Hollingsworth, Jr. “This bill, which has already passed the House with no dissent, will be a key component of the sportsmen’s legislation. The measure would create an online public database of information on court cases against the U.S. government.”
For decades, environmental litigation and suing federal agencies, such as the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Forest Service has been forcing these agencies into no action, thereby blocking conservation opportunities from happening.
Hollingsworth, Jr.  said, “We thank Senator Lisa Murkowski and Members of Senate Energy Committee for their introduction of this critical legislation. This package is a testament of the strength and unity of the sportsmen’s community in Washington, D.C. In particular, we appreciate inclusion of the provision on EAJA. We’re concerned that litigation too often needlessly impedes the work of conservation agencies. Litigation is now a regular feature of environmental policy. Therefore, in the public interest, the full impacts of litigation must be transparent, understood and guided.”
The legislation also reauthorizes key conservation programs, permanently establishes the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council Advisory Committee, allows for expanded wildlife management measures on National Park Service land, and amends the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act to allocate funds for construction and expansion of public target ranges on federal land.

About the Boone and Crockett Club
Founded by Theodore Roosevelt in 1887, the Boone and Crockett Club promotes guardianship and visionary management of big game and associated wildlife in North America. The Club maintains the highest standards of fair chase sportsmanship and habitat stewardship. Member accomplishments include enlarging and protecting Yellowstone and establishing Glacier and Denali national parks, founding the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service and National Wildlife Refuge System, fostering the Pittman-Robertson and Lacey Acts, creating the Federal Duck Stamp program, and developing the cornerstones of modern game laws. The Boone and Crockett Club is headquartered in Missoula, Montana. For details, visit www.boone-crockett.org.

President Donates First Quarter Salary to National Parks

Secretary Zinke accepts President Trump’s first-quarter presidential salary as donation for National Park Service

$78,333 to be put towards maintenance of historic battlefields

WASHINGTON – Today, President Donald J. Trump donated his first quarter salary to the National Parks Service (NPS) to help fund the maintenance backlog in America’s historic battlefields. The donation, totaling $78,333, was accepted by Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and Harpers Ferry National Historical Park Superintendent Tyrone Brandyburg at the daily White House Press briefing.

“President Trump is dedicated to our veterans, our public lands, and keeping his promises, and by donating his salary to the National Park Service to repair our historic battlefields proves his commitment,” Secretary Zinke said. “These historic places tell the story of conflicts that helped shape our country’s history, and they also honor the many men and women who have given their lives in service of this great nation. I’m honored to help the president carry out his love and appreciation for our warriors and land.” Read more

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