California Expansion Of Bear Hunting Is Rejected
The state Fish and Game Commission voted unanimously Wednesday not to expand bear hunting grounds in California or eliminate the cap on the number of bears that can be killed each season.  The commission decided not to make changes to existing regulations after the Department of Fish and Game, which initially urged the changes, reversed its position Tuesday afternoon because it had been deluged with public comments. Officials said they had not had time to respond to them all. By law, all comments must be answered before changes are made (LA Times Online). http://bit.ly/9q2Rjg

This story should highlight the consequences of inaction.  The efforts of anti-hunting organizations are real as they continue to thwart state fish and game agencies that attempt to open sustainable hunting seasons.  Throughout the year, SCI targets members in various states and congressional districts, calling on them, as hunters, to act on behalf of the sportsmen’s community. Please be a part of advocating for the hunting heritage.

UPDATE: European Union Commission Restricts Carriage Of Ammunition
Last week we reported on a new European Union Commission regulation that could make it very difficult for hunters to travel with ammunition in checked luggage in Europe.  That regulation goes into effect today, April 29.  SCI has just received new information from our European partners that it is likely that most EU member states will be able obtain an exemption from this regulation.  An exemption would allow passengers to continue to carry ammunition in checked baggage.  So far, SCI has been notified that Germany will continue to allow ammunition in checked baggage and has not changed its policies in response to the EU Commission regulation. Once SCI can confirm exactly which other countries have received an exemption, we will inform you.   Whatever happens, SCI still suggests speaking with your airline or travel agent if you are travelling with ammunition through Europe.

Wisconsin Petitions To Delist Gray Wolves
On April 27, the State of Wisconsin submitted a petition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to delist the gray wolf (eastern timber wolf or Minnesota gray wolf) in the State of Wisconsin.  Wisconsin’s petition noted that the State was joining the March 15, 2010 wolf delisting petition filed by the State of Minnesota.  Wisconsin’s petition starts the clock ticking on the FWS to acknowledge receipt of the petition within 30 days and to publish a determination as to whether the delisting may be warranted within 90 days.  If the FWS concludes the petition may be warranted, it must then “promptly commence a review of the status” of the species, to be completed within one year of receiving the petition.  Wisconsin’s petition speculates that the state’s wolf population may exceed 700 animals in 2010.

Wisconsin has also filed an application for a permit to remove problem wolves, while the state’s wolves retain their endangered status.  Michigan has filed a similar application.  The FWS is soliciting comments on the two states’ applications.  Comments must be submitted by May 20, 2010.  Written comments may be submitted by U.S. Mail to the Regional Director, Attn: Peter Fasbender, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ecological Services, 1 Federal Drive, Fort Snelling, MN 55111–4056, or by electronic mail to permitsR3ES@fws.gov.  SCI will be submitting comments on the two permit applications.

Nine Great Questions With Safari Club International CITES Delegate
SCI Foundation Conservation Committee Chairman Joe Hosmer sat down with the editor of recently to provide some highlights on how CITES played out.  Please click HERE or go to www.HuntingLife.comhttp://bit.ly/anxLOp to check out the interview.

Judge Sets Hearing On Wolf Delisting In Northern Rocky Mountain Case
A federal court judge in Missoula, Montana has scheduled oral arguments on June 15, 2010 to hear arguments on whether gray wolves in Montana and Idaho should remain off the endangered species list.  As a result of the delisting, Idaho and Montana held their first successful wolf harvests in 2009-2010.  SCI, together with the NRA, are participating as Defendant-Intervenors in the case and SCI’s lawyers will be present at the hearing to defend the delisting.

Modern Sporting Rifle Owners Are Most Active Shooters
The first comprehensive survey to look at ownership and use of modern sporting rifles reveals that 8.9 million Americans went target shooting with AR-style rifles in 2009 and that participants using this type of rifle were the most active among all types of sport shooters. “These findings underscore that modern sporting rifles are becoming commonplace in America and are among the most desired firearms by sport shooters,” said Steve Sanetti, president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, trade association of the firearms industry. “Those who want to ban these civilian sporting rifles simply because they look like military rifles must acknowledge after seeing this study that AR-style rifles are exceedingly popular with millions of Americans. These rifles are our industry’s high-tech, cutting-edge product — rugged, accurate, versatile, fun to shoot and easily accessorized — and they’re here to stay.” (NSSF Press Release) Full release available at http://bit.ly/akCrsp

Severe Pneumonia Outbreak Kills Bighorn Sheep
Wildlife officials say an outbreak of bacterial pneumonia killing bighorn sheep herds in five Western states is without precedent.  Every year, a small number of bighorn sheep succumb to pneumonia, but this winter Montana, Washington, Utah, Wyoming and Nevada all have reported unusually high incidences of sickness and death among their wild sheep populations.  The outbreak’s toll is difficult to determine, since bighorn sheep roam remote locations, but officials estimate 1,000 sheep in nine wild herds had died as of early April. Some 300 of those deaths represented sick animals that were culled—a measure adopted by three states to prevent the disease from infecting other herds. (AVMA Online) Read the full story at http://bit.ly/bV7q9E.

Senate Hearing Establishing New Guidelines For Filming Hunting Programs On Federal Lands
The U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests held a hearing on April 28, concerning S. 1241, sponsored by CSC Member Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and co-sponsored by CSC Co-Chair Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) and CSC Vice-Chair Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT). This legislation would establish new guidelines for filming hunting and fishing programs on federal lands. CSF, along with 32 other organizations, sent a letter last week expressing support for this legislation that will direct the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture to require annual permits and assess annual fees for commercial filming activities on Federal lands and waterways for film crews of five persons or fewer. (Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation Newsletter) Letter available here: http://bit.ly/cX2plT

New Jersey Holds Public Hearing On Proposed Black Bear Policy
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has published a proposed Comprehensive Black Bear Policy that includes a black bear season for the fall of 2010.  Written comments on the proposed policy may be submitted through June 18, 2010.  The policy and comment information are accessible from the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife site at http://www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/bearpolicy10.htm.  A public hearing on the policy is scheduled for May, 11, 2010 at 6 p.m. at the New Jersey State Museum, 205 West State St., Trenton, NJ 08625.  SCI will attend the hearing to present oral testimony in support of the policy and will also be submitting a set of written comments.


Supreme Court Agrees With SCI, Rejects Law Banning Hunting Videos As Overbroad

Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court, in an 8-1 decision, struck down a law that banned the distribution of depictions of animal cruelty.  Hunting and SCI’s contribution to the briefing played an important role in the court’s decision.  Although the law was intended to stop the distribution of “crush videos,” its broad language could have been used to prosecute the distribution of hunting videos or magazines.  The Supreme Court ruled the law unconstitutional, holding that the law’s expansive prohibitions could affect activities protected under the First Amendment.  Safari Club International and the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation submitted an amicus curiae brief explaining the harmful impact the law imposed on hunting and the hunting community.  Chief Justice Roberts quoted SCI’s brief in discussing hunting videos, and the role that hunting videos play in enhancing hunting enjoyment, opportunities and recruitment. The full opinion is available here. SCI Press Release available at http://bit.ly/9DSvtA.

President Obama Launches Initiative To Develop 21st Century Strategy For America’s Great Outdoors
WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Barack Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum establishing the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative to promote and support innovative community-level efforts to conserve outdoor spaces and to reconnect Americans to the outdoors.  The President spoke before leaders representing conservation, farming, ranching, sporting, recreation, forestry, private industry, local parks and academic communities from all 53 states and territories.

The Presidential Memorandum calls on the Secretaries of the Interior and of Agriculture, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) to lead the Initiative, in coordination with the Departments of Defense, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Labor, Transportation, Education, and the Office of Management and Budget.  The Initiative will support a 21st century conservation agenda that builds on successes in communities across the country, and will start a national dialogue about conservation that supports the efforts of private citizens and local communities. (DOI Press Release) http://bit.ly/aQFlmf

View the White House blog at http://bit.ly/azcGeW.

SCI 2010 Convention Member Survey
SCI’s Convention Department is conducting a brief survey to garner information for planning future Conventions. The responses we receive will give us insight for improving and maintaining The Ultimate Hunters’ Market® as the best hunting show on the planet. Your opinions are crucial to making the results of the survey meaningful and significant. Please take about five minutes to help us make SCI’s Convention an even better event! Start the survey HERE  or http://bit.ly/bBsyIT.

European Union Commission Restricts Carriage Of Ammunition
The European Union Commission recently released a new air-travel security regulation which, in part, prohibits the carriage of ammunition in checked baggage.  This new regulation could make it very difficult for hunters to leave Europe with ammunition and might even cause problems for travelers transiting through Europe with ammunition, on their way to non-European destinations.  Individual EU countries have the ability to opt out of the regulation, and SCI is working to encourage as many countries as possible to do so in their national air safety rules.   SCI is also working to clarify whether the regulation will affect hunters who must fly through Europe, such as those who simply change planes in a European airport.  Keep watching Crosshairs for further developments on this issue, including details on any country that confirms that it plans to exempt itself from this regulation.  This regulation goes into effect on April 29, so anyone travelling with ammunition through Europe after that date needs to contact the airline to make sure that there will not be any issues.  The full regulation can be accessed from: http://bit.ly/ajdSlf.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Lists Hawaiian Plants, But Acknowledges Hunting
In 2008, SCI commented on a proposal to list under the ESA 44 plants, two birds, and two flies on Kauai, Hawaii.  SCI argued that hunting should be maintained to help control mammals (e.g., pigs, goats and deer) that harm the plants.  In the recent listing and critical habitat designation for these species, the Fish and Wildlife Service acknowledged “that game mammal hunting is a highly valued activity to a portion of the present-day Hawaiian culture, and that hunting is an important tool to manage wild game populations” and said it “supports hunting as a recreational activity.”  The Service also explained that the critical habitat designation does not affect bird and mammal hunting.  The 204-page rule can be found at http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/pdf/2010-1904.pdf or http://bit.ly/akvD4m.

Demanding Information From DOI On Secret National Monument Designations
House Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Doc Hastings (R-WA) and Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) introduced a Resolution of Inquiry intended to compel the Secretary of the Interior to reveal specific information related to 13 million acres of potential National Monument designations exposed by an internal DOI document.  House rules provide that the Democrat Majority on the Committee has 14 legislative days to report the Resolution of Inquiry or it can be brought to the Floor of the House of Representatives for a vote as a Privileged Resolution. (Natural Resources Republican Press Office) http://republicans.resourcescommittee.house.gov/

Managing Conflicts Between People And Lions
Not long ago, when large mammals harmed people we talked of accidents; when they damaged people’s assets we referred to incidents. Nowadays, human/wildlife conflicts are regarded as common occurrences. It seems that what were once considered exceptional or abnormal events have become normal or usual. Whether this is a result of higher frequency and amplitude is not clear, because we do not have reliable statistics to make accurate comparisons. (Africa Indaba Newsletter) Read the full article http://bit.ly/cTcVvu.

Gas Exploration Company Wins Wildlife Award
The Bill Barrett Corporation (BBC) was presented a Conservation Achievement Award at this year’s Wildlife Society meeting in Moab, Utah. Nominated by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, BBC was lauded for its progressive attitude toward wildlife and innovative approach to wildlife mitigation. “BBC representatives have made every effort to assure that potential impacts of oil and gas development on wildlife were minimized or mitigated,” wrote DWR Wildlife Biologist Brad Crompton in the nomination application. (Sun Advocate Online) http://bit.ly/bWlxUw.

U.S. National Wildlife Refuge System Subject Of CSF Breakfast Briefing
April 15, 2010 (WASHINGTON, DC) – The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, in cooperation with the Cooperative Alliance for Refuge Enhancement (C.A.R.E), held the first Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus Breakfast Briefing of 2010 on Wednesday.  Members of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, including CSC Co-Chair Rep. Dan Boren (D-OK) and former Co-Chairs Reps. Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Ron Kind (D-WI); Rowan Gould, Acting Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; members of the CSF Board; and fellow members of the C.A.R.E coalition gathered in the Cannon House Office Building to focus on reaffirming the commitment to the National Wildlife Refuge System. (Press Release: Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation) http://bit.ly/dAiW1U

Helping Tribes In Northwest Deal With Feral-Horse Overpopulation Issues
Make no mistake about it: Native Americans love their wild horses. Although these animals could be considered an invasive species—because the ancestors of today’s horses were brought into what became the United States by Spanish explorers and later escaped—nobody wants to eradicate them. But getting their numbers down to a manageable level is imperative. On some reservations in east-central Washington and Oregon and nearby Idaho, feral horses are eating all the vegetation on rolling hillsides, depriving livestock of forage and endangering plants important as sources for traditional foods and medicines. And then there’s the salmon. (APHIS Online) Go to page three (3) of this link to read the full article: http://bit.ly/cVtgQB.