Polar Bears to be Hurt by Protections

By Glen Wunderlich
Outdoor Columnist
Professional Outdoor Media Association

The Interior Department has officially declared the polar bear a threatened species, and accordingly, says it must be protected because of declining Arctic sea ice. Interior Secretary, Dirk Kempthorne, said the polar bear species is likely to be in danger of extinction in the near future. One would think our government has invented a means to create more sea ice, but by Kempthorne’s own admission, “This listing will not stop global climate change or prevent any sea ice from melting.”

One must wonder then just what this unprecedented legislation accomplishes. I mention unprecedented, because this is the first instance that the Endangered Species Act has been leveraged to protect a species threatened by implications of global warming, which many scientist agree is a hoax perpetrated to advance political agendas.

The protection bestowed upon the bears will not keep any of them from being harvested by hunters, as if hunting has caused concern for growing and sustainable numbers of polar bears in the first place; it simply prevents Americans from importing any portion of harvested bears into the United States, which in effect, will stop American hunters’ dollars going to communities in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut in Canada. So, instead of allowing millions annually to be invested in conservation efforts and communities that rely on the cash influx, Canadian polar bear conservation programs will be gutted. Yet, under a strictly enforced quota system established by scientific studies, local communities will instead continue to harvest the same number of bears for their own sustenance. The money, however, will dry up.

Biologist Mitchell Taylor, who has studied the polar bears for 20 years in the Arctic Territory, says polar bear numbers have grown substantially. The bear population across the Arctic from Alaska to Greenland doubled from about 12,000 to 25,000 since 1960 and Dr. Taylor says threats to polar bears from global warming are exaggerated.

As a matter of fact, these and other populations in Canada hunted pursuant to a quota system are some of the healthiest and most closely monitored polar bear populations in the world, due in large part to sport hunting funds used in sound management practices. Only the large, older males are typically pursued, so as to provide not only trophies from the high-priced hunts, but sustainability of the overall population. Is anybody paying attention?

According to the Polar Bear Specialist Group, the twelve polar bear populations managed wholly or in part by Nunavut appear to be very healthy on the whole. Of those twelve Nunavut populations – all of which are hunted under the quota system – nine are currently estimated to be at target size, and seven of the twelve have increased in size over the previous estimate.

The Federal Wildlife Service (FWS) had approved six polar bear populations for import and the FWS had specifically found these populations to be hunted in a manner “ensuring the maintenance of the affected population stock at a sustainable level.” It’s clear that hunting by Americans has been a vital part of the successful growth of polar bear numbers.

However, the FWS has based its about-face on questionable computer models and projections some 45 years into the future. I wonder how it accounts for this past year’s one degree Fahrenheit increase in global temperature across the world as a result of one harsh winter, which in effect, has wiped out 100 years of global warming. I also wonder why the Canadians haven’t joined in the movement to stop polar bear hunting, if doing so would mean protection for their polar bear population.

Actually, there’s not much to wonder about. When polar bear numbers begin to decline because of this deplorable measure in the name of protection, the global warming alarmists will be right this time. But, while spewing, “I told you so!” their own self-fulfilling prophecy will have created the very calamity they fear.

Obama No Friend to Gun Owners

Illinois State Rifle Association Executive Director Richard Pearson Issues Open Letter to Nation’s Sportsmen Regarding Obama’s History in the Illinois Senate

Last update: 1:06 a.m. EDT Oct. 15, 2008

CHICAGO, Oct 15, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX/ — The following is the text of an open letter to the nation’s hunters and sportsmen issued today by Illinois State Rifle Association Executive Director Richard Pearson:

Fellow Sportsman,

Hello, my name is Rich Pearson and I have been active in the firearm rights movement for over 40 years. For the past 15 years, I have served in the Illinois state capitol as the chief lobbyist for the Illinois State Rifle Association.

I lobbied Barack Obama extensively while he was an Illinois State Senator. As a result of that experience, I know Obama’s attitudes toward guns and gun owners better than anyone. The truth be told, in all my years in the Capitol I have never met a legislator who harbors more contempt for the law-abiding firearm owner than does Barack Obama.

Although Obama claims to be an advocate for the 2nd Amendment, his voting record in the Illinois Senate paints a very different picture. While a state senator, Obama voted for a bill that would ban nearly every hunting rifle, shotgun and target rifle owned by Illinois citizens. That same bill would authorize the state police to raid homes of gun owners to forcibly confiscate banned guns. Obama supported a bill that would shut down law-abiding firearm manufacturers including Springfield Armory, Armalite, Rock River Arms and Les Baer. Obama also voted for a bill that would prohibit law-abiding citizens from purchasing more than one gun per month.

Without a doubt, Barack Obama has proven himself to be an enemy of the law abiding firearm owner. At the same time, Obama has proven himself to be a friend to the hardened criminal. While a state senator, Obama voted 4 times against legislation that would allow a homeowner to use a firearm in defense of home and family.

Does Barack Obama still sound to you like a “friend” of the law-abiding gun owner?
And speaking of friends, you can always tell a person by the company they keep. Obama counts among his friends the Rev. Michael Pfleger – a renegade Chicago priest who has openly called for the murder of gun shop owners and pro-gun legislators. Then there is his buddy Richard Daley, the mayor of Chicago who has declared that if it were up to him, nobody would be allowed to own a gun. And let’s not forget Obama’s pal George Soros – the guy who has pumped millions of dollars into the UN’s international effort to disarm law-abiding citizens.

Obama has shown that he is more than willing to use other people’s money to fund his campaign to take your guns away from you. While a board member of the leftist Joyce Foundation, Barack Obama wrote checks for tens of millions of dollars to extremist gun control organizations such as the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence and the Violence Policy Center.

Does Barack Obama still sound to you like a “friend” of the law-abiding gun owner?

By now, I’m sure that many of you have received mailings from an organization called “American Hunters and Shooters Association(AHSA)” talking about what a swell fellow Obama is and how he honors the 2nd Amendment and how you will never have to worry about Obama coming to take your guns. Let me make it perfectly clear – everything the AHSA says about Obama is pure hogwash. The AHSA is headed by a group of left-wing elitists who subscribe to the British view of hunting and shooting. That is, a state of affairs where hunting and shooting are reserved for the wealthy upper-crust who can afford guided hunts on exclusive private reserves. The AHSA is not your friend, never will be.

In closing, I’d like to remind you that I’m a guy who has actually gone nose to nose with Obama on gun rights issues. The Obama I know cannot even begin to identify with this nation’s outdoor traditions. The Obama I know sees you, the law abiding gun owner, as nothing but a low-class lummox who is easily swayed by the flash of a smile and a ration of rosy rhetoric. The Obama I know is a stony-faced liar who has honed his skill at getting what he wants – so long as people are willing to give it to him.

That’s the Barack Obama I know.

The ISRA is the state’s leading advocate of safe, lawful and responsible firearms ownership.

Founded in 1903, the ISRA has represented the interests of millions of law-abiding Illinois firearm owners.

WEB SITE: http://www.isra.org

SOURCE Illinois State Rifle Association

NRA to Settle Suit over Katrina Gun Seizures

10/8/2008, 3:53 p.m. EDT

By MICHAEL KUNZELMAN
The Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — City officials have agreed to return hundreds of firearms that police officers confiscated in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, part of a deal to resolve a lawsuit filed by gun lobbying groups.

The settlement agreement filed Tuesday in federal court calls for the National Rifle Association and Second Amendment Foundation to drop their case if the city follows a plan for returning guns to owners who had them seized by police after the Aug. 29, 2005, hurricane.

Both sides also are asking U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier to sign off on the pact and issue a permanent injunction barring the city from seizing lawfully possessed firearms. Barbier didn’t immediately rule on the agreement, which doesn’t involve a monetary award.

Commentary by Glen Wunderlich follows.

If you ever doubted that there are officials in power that would love to get citizens’ guns, the evidence is clear that you have been naive at best. The idea that honest people being robbed of the very essence of Second Amendment assurances, just when they needed protection most, is frightening.

If the NRA didn’t stand for freedom, who would have in this case?

Obama Campaign Steals Pro-Gun List

NEWTOWN, Conn., Oct. 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ —

The Obama campaign in Indiana, on September 27, unlawfully obtained and made unauthorized use of a proprietary media list belonging to the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) – the trade association for the firearms industry. Sen. Obama used this list to e-mail a press release (http://www.nssf.org/share/PDF/100808-003.pdf) concerning National Hunting and Fishing Day.

Earlier today, NSSF sent a “cease and desist” letter (http://www.nssf.org/share/PDF/100808-001.pdf) to the Obama campaign demanding that they immediately stop any further unauthorized misuse of its proprietary media list.

The list contains the names and addresses of members of the media that attended the NSSF Shooting Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT Show) – the world’s largest firearms trade show and the 23rd largest trade show of any kind in North America.

The list can only be obtained from NSSF and its use is tightly controlled by NSSF (http://www.nssf.org/share/PDF/100808-002.pdf). Neither the Obama campaign, nor its operations in Indiana, obtained any rights from NSSF to use the list.
NSSF’s letter also demands that the Obama campaign destroy all copies of the list, identify how they obtained the list and pay monetary damages to NSSF for its misappropriation and unauthorized use of the association’s intellectual property. NSSF demanded an immediate response from the Obama campaign and has threatened to file a lawsuit against the campaign if its demands are not met.

“NSSF will not sit idly by while its legal rights are harmed, particularly for partisan political gain,” said NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Lawrence G. Keane.
NSSF is also encouraging all sportsmen and gun-owners to visit the NSSF Voter Education Web-site (http://www.nssf.org/VoterEd/) and educate themselves about the candidates records and positions on issues important to them in this election.

SOURCE National Shooting Sports Foundation

Michigan CWD Update

Since the discovery of chronic wasting disease in a Kent County, Mich. captive whitetail, an aggressive testing program launched by the Michigan DNR has screened more than 500 wild deer without finding another infected animal.

Wolf Control Approved in Michigan

The Michigan Senate voted unanimously Thursday, September 25th to allow farmers to kill gray wolves attacking their livestock and let the owners of hunting dogs kill wolves that attack their dogs. The measure would become effective only if and when the DNR removes the wolf from its threatened species list.

Obama Hopes to Deceive Gun Owners

In an appearance in Nevada, anti-gun presidential candidate Barack Obama told his followers: “I need you to go out and talk to your friends and talk to your neighbors. I want you to talk to them whether they are independent or whether they are Republican. I want you to argue with them and get in their face,” he said.

“And if they tell you that, ‘Well, we’re not sure where he stands on guns.’ I want you to say, ‘He believes in the Second Amendment.’

Obama’s Opposition to Second Amendment Clarified

FactCheck supposedly exists to look beyond a politician’s claims. Ironically, in its analysis of NRA materials on Barack Obama, these so-called “FactCheckers” use the election year campaign rhetoric of a presidential candidate and a verbal claim by one of the most zealous gun control supporters in Congress to refute facts compiled by NRA’s research of vote records and review of legislative language.

There’s another possible explanation behind FactCheck’s positions. Just last year, FactCheck’s primary funding source, the Annenberg Foundation, also gave $50,000 to the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence for “efforts to reduce gun violence by educating the public and by enacting and enforcing regulations governing the gun industry.” Annenberg made a similar grant for $100,000 in 2005. (source)

Regardless of the cause, it’s clear that while FactCheck swoons over a politician’s rhetoric, NRA prefers to look at the more mundane details – like how that politician voted on a bill and what kind of impact that legislation had or may have had on law-abiding gun owners.

FactCheck claims that NRA advertisements “distort” Barack Obama’s anti-gun positions, but FactCheck’s own sources prove otherwise. In fact, even Obama’s campaign has refused to deny his most extreme positions.

FactCheck also dismisses NRA’s statements as “contrary to what [Obama] has said throughout his campaign.” But as FactCheck says, “believing something doesn’t make it so.” And unless FactCheck is an arm of the Obama campaign, isn’t it their job to find out if Obama is telling the truth?

FactCheck claim: “Obama is proposing no …ban” on use of firearms for self-defense in the home.

FactCheck is wrong. Obama supported local handgun bans in the Chicago area by opposing any allowance for self-defense. Obama opposed an Illinois bill (SB 2165, 2004) that would have created an “affirmative defense” for a person who used a prohibited firearm in self-defense in his own home.

As FactCheck notes, the bill was provoked by a case where a Wilmette, Ill. homeowner shot an intruder in self-defense in his home; the homeowner’s handgun was banned by a town ordinance. (After the U.S. Supreme Court found Washington, D.C.’s similar ban unconstitutional, Wilmette repealed the ordinance to avoid litigation.)

The legislation was very plainly worded, but as limited as its protection was, Obama voted against it in committee and on the floor:

It is an affirmative defense to a violation of a municipal ordinance that prohibits, regulates, or restricts the private ownership of firearms if the individual who is charged with the violation used the firearm in an act of self-defense or defense of another …when on his or her land or in his or her abode or fixed place of business.

If a person cannot use a handgun for self-defense in the home without facing criminal charges, self-defense with handguns in the home is effectively banned.

Even aside from SB 2165, Obama’s support for a total handgun ban (see below) would be a crippling blow to defense in the home, since (as the Supreme Court recently affirmed) handguns are “the most preferred firearm in the nation to ‘keep’ and use for protection of one’s home and family.” (District of Columbia v. Heller, 128 S.Ct. 2783, 2818 (2008)).

FactCheck claim: Obama “did not …vote to ‘ban virtually all deer hunting ammunition.”

FactCheck is wrong. Obama voted for an amendment by longtime ammunition ban advocate Sen. Edward Kennedy (S. Amdt. 1615 to S. 397, Vote No. 217, July 29, 2005), which would have fundamentally changed the federal “armor piercing ammunition” law (18 U.S.C. ‘ 922(a)(7)), by banning any bullet that “may be used in a handgun and that the Attorney General determines… to be capable of penetrating body armor” that “meets minimum standards for the protection of law enforcement officers.”

Federal law currently bans bullets as “armor piercing” based upon the metals used in their construction, such as those made of steel and those that have heavy jackets. (18 U.S.C. ‘ 921(a)(17)). The Kennedy amendment would have fundamentally changed the law to add a ban on bullets on the basis of whether they penetrate the “minimum” level of body armor, regardless of the bullets’ construction or the purposes for which they were designed (e.g., hunting).

Many bullets designed and intended for use in rifles (including hunting rifles) have, over the years, been used in special-purpose hunting and target handguns, thus they “may be used in a handgun.”

The “minimum” level of body armor, Type I, only protects against the lowest-powered handgun cartridges. Any center-fire rifle used for hunting, target shooting, or any other purpose, and many handguns used for the same purposes, are capable of penetrating Type I armor, regardless of the design of the bullet.

Obama also said, on his 2003 questionnaire for the Independent Voters of Illinois-Independent Precinct Organization, that he would “support banning the sale of ammunition for assault weapons.” (source) The rifles banned as “assault weapons” under the 1994 Clinton gun ban fire cartridges such as the .223 Remington and .308 Winchester – the same ammunition used in common hunting rifles.

It’s true that in 2005, Sen. Kennedy denied his amendment would ban hunting ammunition. But in a floor debate on an identical amendment the previous year, Kennedy specifically denounced the .30-30 Winchester rifle cartridge, used by millions of deer hunters since 1895. “It is outrageous and unconscionable that such ammunition continues to be sold in the United States of America,” said Sen. Kennedy. (Congressional Record, 2/26/04, p. S1634.)

Isn’t it FactCheck’s job to be skeptical of politicians’ claims, especially when the plain language says otherwise?

FactCheck claim: “Obama says he does not support any … handgun ban and never has.”

FactCheck is wrong. Obama has never disavowed his support for a handgun ban. On Obama’s 1996 questionnaire for the Independent Voters of Illinois-Independent Precinct Organization, he clearly stated his support for “state legislation to …ban the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns.” Although Obama first claimed he had not seen the survey, a later version appeared with his handwritten notes modifying some of the answers. But he didn’t change any of his answers on gun issues, including the handgun ban.

FactCheck itself cites Obama’s 2003 questionnaire to the same group. When asked again if he supported a handgun ban, he could simply have said, “No.” Instead, as FactCheck notes, he “avoid[ed] a yes-or-no answer” by saying a ban on handguns “is not politically practicable,” then stated his support for other restrictions.

The 1996 and 2003 positions are not at all contradictory. Many anti-gun groups, such as the Violence Policy Center and Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, support total bans on handguns but also support lesser regulations that are more “politically practicable.”

FactCheck claim: Saying Obama supports gun licensing is “misleading.”

FactCheck is wrong. Obama’s fancy election-year footwork – claiming he doesn’t support licensing or registration because he doesn’t think he “can get that done” – isn’t enough to get around his clear support for handgun registration and licensing.

What’s really misleading is the idea that handgun registration isn’t really gun registration. Handguns are about one-third of the firearms owned in the United States, and American gun owners know better than to think registration schemes will end with any one kind of gun.

FactCheck claim: Saying Obama would appoint judges who agree with him is “unsupported.”

This FactCheck claim is just strange. Don’t most Americans expect that the President will appoint people who agree with him to all levels of the government? And putting all Obama’s campaign rhetoric about “empathy” aside, why would judges be any different?

And on the larger issue of Obama’s view of the Second Amendment, FactCheck once again takes Obama’s spin at face value. While Obama now claims to embrace the Supreme Court’s decision striking down the D.C. gun ban, he refused to sign an amicus brief stating that position to the Court. And when Washington, D.C. television reporter Leon Harris said to Obama, “You support the D.C. handgun ban and you’ve said that it’s constitutional,” Obama nodded – and again didn’t disavow his support. (WJLA TV interview, 2/11/2008.)

-NRA-

Established in 1871, the National Rifle Association is America’s oldest civil rights and sportsmen’s group. Four million members strong, NRA continues its mission to uphold Second Amendment rights and to advocate enforcement of existing laws against violent offenders to reduce crime. The Association remains the nation’s leader in firearm education and training for law-abiding gun owners, law enforcement and the military.

U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Testimony on National Hunting Issue

USSA Testifies Before U.S. Congress on National Wildlife Refuge

Discusses Funding and Management of Federally Administered Lands

(Washington DC) –America’s premier sportsmen’s rights organization, the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA) today testified before a U.S. House of Representatives committee on issues identified by a recent independent evaluation concerning the National Wildlife Refuge. This was the fourth time this year that USSA has been asked to offer its expertise to Congress on issues of importance to sportsmen.

The USSA identified four major areas of concern to sportsmen including:

The need for new guidelines that ensure the importance of wildlife management programs within the Refuge System;

The need to guarantee that hunting and fishing are to be the last programs impacted by any budget shortfalls;

The need to make certain that land purchases for the Refuge System match the priorities established by wildlife management professionals;

The need to develop a new way of funding public land management in an era of stretched resources.

The testimony was provided by USSA Director of Federal Affairs William P. Horn, a former Assistant Secretary for the Interior for Fish, Wildlife, and Parks.

Horn concluded his testimony by stating: “We need to assist the Service in making the most efficient use of these resources while working to develop a new funding model to assure that sufficient funds are available to ensure sound conservation, management, and use of our incomparable Wildlife Refuges.”

The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance is a national association of sportsmen and sportsmen’s organizations that protects the rights of hunters, anglers and trappers in the courts, legislatures, at the ballot, in Congress and through public education programs. For more information about the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance and its work, call (614) 888-4868 or visit its website, http://www.ussportsmen.org

Quality Deer Management Position on CWD

September 22, 2008

Mr. Keith Charters, Chairman
Michigan Natural Resources Commission
Mason Building, Sixth Floor
P.O. Box 30028
Lansing, Michigan 48909

Dear Chairman Charters and NRC Members:

On behalf of the Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA), we are writing to express our support for the Michigan Department of Natural Resource’s (DNR) chronic wasting disease (CWD) surveillance and response plan. This plan was developed and critically evaluated by wildlife and disease professionals following the discovery of CWD in Wisconsin in 2002. Herein, we also propose the inclusion of additional action items we believe would strengthen the existing plan.

The recent discovery of CWD in a captive white-tailed deer in Kent County, Michigan has generated serious concern among the state’s deer hunters, landowners, resource managers and agricultural producers. This also gives Michigan the unenviable distinction of being the only state in which both CWD and Bovine TB have been detected in white-tailed deer. These disease concerns are justified given that Michigan’s estimated 1.5 million deer and nearly 800,000 hunters generate approximately $1 billion for the state’s economy annually and support many thousands of jobs. If CWD becomes established in Michigan’s free-ranging deer herd, it would result in significant negative impacts to many sectors of Michigan’s already struggling economy.

A key component of the DNR’s surveillance and response plan is a ban on the baiting and feeding of deer in the entire Lower Peninsula, which QDMA supports. While the exact modes of CWD transmission in wild deer are not fully understood, direct contact with infected deer via saliva is one known mode of transmission. Thus, spread of the disease likely would be accelerated where deer are concentrated at bait or feed sites. While the localized baiting ban proposed by the Michigan House of Representatives may have been worthy of consideration if the DNR had time to test all captive facilities linked to the Kent County case and the wild herds around these facilities, this simply was not possible. The time constraint was further complicated given that the early antlerless deer season is already underway in Michigan. We recognize the hardship this ban will have on some Michigan farmers and understand the importance of this practice to many Michigan hunters. However, we believe the DNR took the only biologically and socially responsible action to minimize the threat of CWD to Michigan’s wild deer herd and the future of deer hunting in Michigan.

The state of Michigan, led by the DNR, now faces a difficult but vital task – to do everything possible to determine the extent of CWD in both wild and captive deer and to implement all necessary and reasonable measures to protect its wild deer resource. Michigan now joins a growing list of states in which CWD has been discovered. However, among these, Michigan has the largest deer population, highest number of hunters and greatest impact on the U.S. hunting economy. As such, Michigan must assume a leadership role at the national level in the battle against CWD.

To accomplish such a task, the Michigan legislature should immediately make available necessary appropriations enabling the DNR to implement an effective education, research, surveillance and management program. Key aspects of this program should include:

· Spearheading a national CWD research effort to better understand the impact of CWD on wild deer herds and the future of hunting. The impact of this disease on the U.S. hunting economy could be catastrophic given that 70% of the $67 billion hunting industry is generated from white-tailed deer.

· Evaluating all captive deer facilities in Michigan and ranking them according to disease risk to wild deer, and to implement testing, record keeping and movement regulations as necessary.

· Testing all captive facilities with known linkages to the Kent County facility and to aggressively sample the wild deer herds around each facility.

· Evaluating the potential risk associated with taxidermy operations and captive deer facilities which manufacture products containing deer urine and/or feces.

· Collaborating with conservation organizations such as QDMA and individuals with wildlife habitat expertise to educate hunters and landowners on the benefits of food plots and native habitat improvement as alternatives to baiting and feeding.

In closing, we recognize that this is a trying time for Michigan’s hunters, landowners, wildlife managers and farmers. We applaud the DNR’s courage in making this difficult decision and hope the Kent County deer was an isolated case. In closing, we urge you to join with us in supporting the existing plan while expanding it to include the critical action items listed above. Thank you for your consideration and commitment to Michigan’s natural resources.

Respectfully,

Brian Murphy Kip Adams, Director
Chief Executive Officer Education & Outreach, Northern Region

Leon Hank
Michigan State Chapter President

cc: Rebecca Humphries, DNR Director Michigan Branch Presidents and Members

About QDMA

The QDMA is an international nonprofit wildlife conservation organization dedicated to ethical hunting, sound deer management and preservation of the deer-hunting heritage. Currently, QDMA has more than 50,000 members, including over 3,000 of the nation’s leading natural resource professionals. Michigan ranks second nationally in membership with nearly 4,000 members. Given its commitment to research, education and stewardship, QDMA is widely regarded as the most respected whitetail conservation organization in North America.

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