Washington, D.C. – Safari Club International’s (SCI) President Dr. Larry Rudolph addressed the Fourth Biennial Meeting of States (BMS4) at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York yesterday. His speech focused on the vast economic benefits of hunting in developing nations, and emphasized that an international regulatory climate that allows the continued private transportation of firearms is vital to those benefits.
This meeting is part of the follow-up process to the UN 2001 Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects, during which Member States adopted the Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons (PoA). (SCI Press Release) Full release available at http://bit.ly/cR2CIX.
SCI Calls On Members To Express Opposition To DISCLOSE Act (HR 5175)
SCI is calling on its members to contact their U.S. Representatives in opposition to the DISCLOSE Act (HR 5175) now pending in the House. SCI opposes the DISCLOSE Act because it is a blatant effort to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision from January of this year. That critical decision held that limits on the political speech of groups like SCI were unconstitutional under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This bill would resurrect some of those restrictions, and SCI stands to suffer even more onerous restrictions under the bill if growth continues in the number of SCI’s international chapters. Members can reach their U.S. Representative by calling 202-225-3121, or by using the “Find Your Representative” function at the House website, www.house.gov.
Northern Rocky Mountain Wolf Delisting Argued In Montana Court
The fate of the Northern Rocky Mountain wolves was once again argued in a Montana courtroom on Tuesday, June 15. In 2009, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed Montana’s and Idaho’s wolves from federal management but left Wyoming’s wolves under federal Endangered Species Act protection. Lawyers for the federal government and the states of Montana and Idaho defended the partial ESA delisting. Counsel for Safari Club International and the National Rifle Association attended the hearing, along with other sporting and wildlife groups, to lend their support for the delisting rule. Despite some drama when a law student, representing Plaintiff Greater Yellowstone Coalition, fainted during her presentation, the morning’s hearing focused on several legal issues identified by the judge as his main questions in the case. The court particularly expressed confusion during the federal government’s presentation about one main issue: the legal basis for the FWS’s decision to remove federal ESA protection from some but not all of the Northern Rocky Mountain wolves. The strong presentations offered by the attorneys from Idaho and Montana responded to the court’s questions and aptly demonstrated the legal and practical justifications for the wolf’s partial removal from the list. The Judge indicated he would issue a decision as soon as possible.
Commission Makes Recommendations For Polar Bear Hunting
ANCHORAGE – A joint commission is recommending lifting the ban on harvesting polar bears for traditional and cultural purposes in Russia. The U.S.-Russia Polar Bear Commission met this week in Anchorage to determine the potential for a coordinated and sustainable subsistence harvest of polar bears by Native peoples of Alaska and Chukotka in Russia. The commission determined that the harvest should be limited to up to 58 polar bears a year, with no more than 19 being females. (Juneau Empire Online) http://bit.ly/98CKgg.
Bears Lumbering Back Into East Texas
CLARKSVILLE, Texas – Before hunting season began, Don “Dink” Benton set up a motion sensor camera on his east Texas ranch to learn what kind of deer roamed his land along the Oklahoma border. What he saw as he went through the pictures was a shock: a black bear exploring a feeder, then investigating the camera. “When we got this picture, all of a sudden, it added up,” said Benton, who had been wondering how some of the deer feeders on his 3,000-acre ranch had gotten knocked over last summer. Bears are slowly returning to the woods of east Texas thanks to thriving bear populations in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana, wildlife officials say. As a result, sightings in east Texas have been on the rise, up from just five in the 1980s to 54 in the 2000s. (Houston Chronicle Online) http://bit.ly/9oMdqT
Oklahoma Approves Permits For Non-Hunters On State Game Land
Everyone knows that most state-owned wildlife management areas are purchased and maintained with hunting and angling dollars, but utilized for free by other recreational groups. That’s coming to an end in Oklahoma… (Field & Stream Online) http://bit.ly/dh0dz2.
NOAA Closures Killing The Recreational Fishing, Related Industries
The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) briefed members of Congress yesterday on two simultaneous disasters impacting recreational fishing caused by the effects of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the total closure of substantial ocean fisheries by the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The Gulf oil spill threatens an ever expanding portion of the fishable waters in the Gulf, as well as the over 300,000 jobs and $41 billion in yearly economic activity supported by recreational anglers and boaters in the region. A recent American Sportfishing Association study determined that 85 percent of recreational fishing-dependent businesses cannot survive the fallout without immediate financial assistance. “Thirty-two percent of the Gulf of Mexico is now closed to any and all recreational activities because of this catastrophe,” said U.S. Senator David Vitter of Louisiana. “There are over 2,300 bait and tackle shops and thousands of other related businesses operating in this area and the millions of dollars in lost income threatens their very existence.” (CSF Press Release) http://bit.ly/dxOUV9.