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  • 30 Apr 2013
        Sportsmen’s Organizations Defend the Scientific Delisting of the Western Great Lakes Wolf Populations April 29, 2013 Washington, D.C. – Hunters and advocates for sustainable wildlife management are joining together to fight a legal challenge to the delisting of wolves of the Western Great Lakes.  The large collaboration is a unique endeavor for national and regional organizations who recognize wolves as recovered in the Midwestern United States and who strive to make certain that management of the predator species remains with state wildlife authorities. The national hunter-conservationist organizations include the National Rifle Association of America (NRA), the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF), Safari Club International (SCI), and the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation (USSAF); the regional sportsmen’s organizations include the Michigan Hunting Dog Federation, the Michigan United Conservation Clubs, the Upper Peninsula Bear Houndsmen Association, Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, and the Wisconsin Bowhunters Association.  Collectively these organizations speak for those who hunt wolves, deer, moose, elk, and other game species and who seek to make sure that hunting remains part of sustainable management and conservation strategies for all wildlife. The group, collectively named “Hunter Conservation Coalition” seeks to intervene in a lawsuit filed by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Born Free USA, Help Our Wolves Live, and Friends of Animals and their Environment in federal court in the District of Columbia.   Wolves in the Western Great Lakes region, which consists of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, and parts of bordering states, were removed from Endangered Species Act (ESA) protection in January of 2012 after exceeding population recovery goals.  If successful, the lawsuit would return wolves in the region to federal protection under the ESA, a move that would again prohibit state wildlife agencies from managing them. Quotes from National Hunter-Conservationist Organizations: “America’s hunting heritage is under attack from extreme organizations that seek to eliminate hunting by limiting opportunity and access for all Americans. Their efforts to oppose the removal of wolves from the Endangered Species List contradict sound science, which has determined that the wolf population is able to thrive under state wildlife management.” -- Chris W. Cox, Executive Director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action. “Numbering more than 4,000 strong, the gray wolf is fully recovered in the Great Lakes region and it is of paramount importance that everyone recognizes that states, not the federal government, are best qualified to manage the species. This lawsuit, like so many previous frivolous filings, will frustrate science-based management and cause conservation damage into the future. There is no credible science that supports claims that state management threatens to push populations to the brink of extinction. Wolf researchers and experts like Dr. David Mech, founder of the International Wolf Center, already stated that regulated hunting by states will not negatively affect the states' wolf populations. In fact there is very recent credible evidence in both Idaho and Montana that regulated hunting and trapping of gray wolves is not harming the overall wolf population as both states have the autonomy to manage their wolf populations and they are using best science practices." --David Allen, RMEF president & CEO    “Many of our organizations are seasoned participants in litigation that challenges scientifically based wildlife management.  SCI and several members of our coalition have gone to court many times to defend against similar attacks by animal rights’ advocates. The anti-hunting organizations use litigation to drive their agendas, sidelining science and ignoring those who have a direct stake in the management of the species.  They have attempted to undermine the delisting of Western Great Lakes wolf populations, as they have with the delisting of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming’s wolves. We hope the court sees through this feeble attempt to halt the management successes of the Western Great Lakes.”  -- John Whipple, President, SCI. “Wolf populations in the Western Great Lakes region have far exceeded all recovery goals set by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Despite repeatedly fighting this issue in court, anti-hunting organizations are once again attempting to manipulate the ESA through the court system to overturn the delisting.  Not only does this threaten the future of scientific wildlife management and the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, it flies in the face of the intent of the ESA in the first place.  If allowed to intervene, USSAF and the members of the Hunter Conservation Coalition will ensure sportsmen’s voices are heard in the case.”  -- Bud Pidgeon, USSAF President and CEO.
    2992 Posted by Chris Avena
  •     Sportsmen’s Organizations Defend the Scientific Delisting of the Western Great Lakes Wolf Populations April 29, 2013 Washington, D.C. – Hunters and advocates for sustainable wildlife management are joining together to fight a legal challenge to the delisting of wolves of the Western Great Lakes.  The large collaboration is a unique endeavor for national and regional organizations who recognize wolves as recovered in the Midwestern United States and who strive to make certain that management of the predator species remains with state wildlife authorities. The national hunter-conservationist organizations include the National Rifle Association of America (NRA), the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF), Safari Club International (SCI), and the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation (USSAF); the regional sportsmen’s organizations include the Michigan Hunting Dog Federation, the Michigan United Conservation Clubs, the Upper Peninsula Bear Houndsmen Association, Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, and the Wisconsin Bowhunters Association.  Collectively these organizations speak for those who hunt wolves, deer, moose, elk, and other game species and who seek to make sure that hunting remains part of sustainable management and conservation strategies for all wildlife. The group, collectively named “Hunter Conservation Coalition” seeks to intervene in a lawsuit filed by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Born Free USA, Help Our Wolves Live, and Friends of Animals and their Environment in federal court in the District of Columbia.   Wolves in the Western Great Lakes region, which consists of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, and parts of bordering states, were removed from Endangered Species Act (ESA) protection in January of 2012 after exceeding population recovery goals.  If successful, the lawsuit would return wolves in the region to federal protection under the ESA, a move that would again prohibit state wildlife agencies from managing them. Quotes from National Hunter-Conservationist Organizations: “America’s hunting heritage is under attack from extreme organizations that seek to eliminate hunting by limiting opportunity and access for all Americans. Their efforts to oppose the removal of wolves from the Endangered Species List contradict sound science, which has determined that the wolf population is able to thrive under state wildlife management.” -- Chris W. Cox, Executive Director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action. “Numbering more than 4,000 strong, the gray wolf is fully recovered in the Great Lakes region and it is of paramount importance that everyone recognizes that states, not the federal government, are best qualified to manage the species. This lawsuit, like so many previous frivolous filings, will frustrate science-based management and cause conservation damage into the future. There is no credible science that supports claims that state management threatens to push populations to the brink of extinction. Wolf researchers and experts like Dr. David Mech, founder of the International Wolf Center, already stated that regulated hunting by states will not negatively affect the states' wolf populations. In fact there is very recent credible evidence in both Idaho and Montana that regulated hunting and trapping of gray wolves is not harming the overall wolf population as both states have the autonomy to manage their wolf populations and they are using best science practices." --David Allen, RMEF president & CEO    “Many of our organizations are seasoned participants in litigation that challenges scientifically based wildlife management.  SCI and several members of our coalition have gone to court many times to defend against similar attacks by animal rights’ advocates. The anti-hunting organizations use litigation to drive their agendas, sidelining science and ignoring those who have a direct stake in the management of the species.  They have attempted to undermine the delisting of Western Great Lakes wolf populations, as they have with the delisting of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming’s wolves. We hope the court sees through this feeble attempt to halt the management successes of the Western Great Lakes.”  -- John Whipple, President, SCI. “Wolf populations in the Western Great Lakes region have far exceeded all recovery goals set by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Despite repeatedly fighting this issue in court, anti-hunting organizations are once again attempting to manipulate the ESA through the court system to overturn the delisting.  Not only does this threaten the future of scientific wildlife management and the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, it flies in the face of the intent of the ESA in the first place.  If allowed to intervene, USSAF and the members of the Hunter Conservation Coalition will ensure sportsmen’s voices are heard in the case.”  -- Bud Pidgeon, USSAF President and CEO.
    Apr 30, 2013 2992
  • 08 Jul 2011
    YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK — A 57-year-old hiker was killed Wednesday morning in Yellowstone National Park when he and his wife encountered a sow grizzly bear with cubs. Torrence, California native Brian Matayoshi and his wife Marylin were hiking along the Wapiti Lake Trail, which is a 32-mile round trip hike that starts at the Upper Falls trail head just south of Canyon Village and spans east to Wapiti Lake. According to NBCMontana.com, the couple were a mile and half away from the trailhead, hiking west towards their vehicle mid-morning when they arrived at an open meadow after traveling through a forested area. Matayoshi spotted the bear and her cubs 100 yards away and immediately started to back track away from the bear. When the couple turned around to look, they saw the horrifying site of the sow running down the trail after them. The couple immediately started running, but the bear caught Brian, savaging the hiker with multiple bite and claw wounds. The bear then turned her attention to Marylin who was now laying down near her fallen husband. The bear chomped down on her day pack, lifting her up, before slamming her back to the ground. As Marylin lay still, the grizzly sow eventually left, leaving Marylin frantically calling 911 and screaming out to other hikers. When park rangers arrived, Brian Matayoshi was pronounced dead at the scene. The attack occurred just south of Canyon Village along the Wapiti Lake Trail. “It is extremely unfortunate that this couple’s trip into the Yellowstone backcountry has ended in tragedy,” said Dan Wenk, Superintendent of Yellowstone National Park. “Our heart goes out to the family and friends of the victim as they work to cope with their loss.”
    3235 Posted by Chris Avena
  • YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK — A 57-year-old hiker was killed Wednesday morning in Yellowstone National Park when he and his wife encountered a sow grizzly bear with cubs. Torrence, California native Brian Matayoshi and his wife Marylin were hiking along the Wapiti Lake Trail, which is a 32-mile round trip hike that starts at the Upper Falls trail head just south of Canyon Village and spans east to Wapiti Lake. According to NBCMontana.com, the couple were a mile and half away from the trailhead, hiking west towards their vehicle mid-morning when they arrived at an open meadow after traveling through a forested area. Matayoshi spotted the bear and her cubs 100 yards away and immediately started to back track away from the bear. When the couple turned around to look, they saw the horrifying site of the sow running down the trail after them. The couple immediately started running, but the bear caught Brian, savaging the hiker with multiple bite and claw wounds. The bear then turned her attention to Marylin who was now laying down near her fallen husband. The bear chomped down on her day pack, lifting her up, before slamming her back to the ground. As Marylin lay still, the grizzly sow eventually left, leaving Marylin frantically calling 911 and screaming out to other hikers. When park rangers arrived, Brian Matayoshi was pronounced dead at the scene. The attack occurred just south of Canyon Village along the Wapiti Lake Trail. “It is extremely unfortunate that this couple’s trip into the Yellowstone backcountry has ended in tragedy,” said Dan Wenk, Superintendent of Yellowstone National Park. “Our heart goes out to the family and friends of the victim as they work to cope with their loss.”
    Jul 08, 2011 3235
  • 19 May 2011
    Wild horses — symbols of the American West that receive protections from the federal government — would have less standing than mollusks when it comes to Nevada water law under a measure that seeks to deny mustangs and burros status as wild animals. CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Wild horses — symbols of the American West that receive protections from the federal government — would have less standing than mollusks when it comes to Nevada water law under a measure that seeks to deny mustangs and burros status as wild animals. The six lines contained in the measure define the term "wildlife'' as "any wild mammal, wild bird, fish, reptile amphibian, mollusk or crustacean found naturally in a wild state, whether indigenous to Nevada or not and whether raised in captivity of not. The term does not include any wild horse or burro.'' Under state law, holders of water rights must show "beneficial use" of the valuable resource before a permit is granted by the state engineer. Benefiting wildlife is one such allowable use. Wild horse advocates say if the bill passes it will deprive the animals access to water across the harsh desert landscape. Backers of the bill deny that claim. They argue that the bill's intent is to keep the federal government from obtaining new water rights specifically for horses in the future, and force the federal government's hand to deal with too many horses on the range. AB329 received bipartisan support in the Assembly, passing 35-7. It's up for hearing Friday before the Senate Natural Resources Committee. "Contrary to the claims of AB329 supporters, this proposed law could have a catastrophic impact on wild horses and burros who depend on these natural waters for survival," said Bruce Wagman, a lawyer representing the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign and American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in opposing the bill. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is charged with overseeing the estimated 33,000 wild horses that roam freely in 10 Western states. About half of those are in Nevada. Kelvin Hickenbottom, deputy state water engineer, said the BLM currently holds 28 water right permits for wildlife in which horses and burros are identified as users of the water. The bill, he said, "would not allow us to issue a water right for wild horses." The state agency is neutral on the bill. Alan Shepherd, BLM wild horse program manager in Nevada, said the agency's existing water rights are at or near designated herd management areas, where wild horses and burros were included under the wildlife definition. If the bill becomes law, it will "put a different spin on how permits are evaluated in the future," he said. One sponsor of the measure, Assemblyman Pete Goicoechea, R-Eureka, said he introduced the bill at the request of ranchers and hunters. Goicoechea said the bill would not deny animals access to water, and any water rights currently held by the federal government for horses would be grandfathered. And while the state is responsible for its own wildlife, it lacks jurisdiction over horses and burros that are federally protected under the 1971 Free-Roaming Wild Horse and Burro Act. Based on that argument, the BLM should take care of them, he said. Democratic Assemblyman David Bobzien of Reno, another sponsor, said the goal is to not perpetuate the horse problem by making water available. "We have a situation out of whack," he said. "I don't want to see an exacerbation of the situation." Granting water rights, he said, "releases the pressure value on the federal government to manage wild horses." "There is a broad coalition asking for management of wild horses," Bobzien said. Kyle Davis, with the Nevada Conservation League, agreed. "Wild horses are currently causing significant environmental damage on the range," he said.
    1422 Posted by Chris Avena
  • Wild horses — symbols of the American West that receive protections from the federal government — would have less standing than mollusks when it comes to Nevada water law under a measure that seeks to deny mustangs and burros status as wild animals. CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Wild horses — symbols of the American West that receive protections from the federal government — would have less standing than mollusks when it comes to Nevada water law under a measure that seeks to deny mustangs and burros status as wild animals. The six lines contained in the measure define the term "wildlife'' as "any wild mammal, wild bird, fish, reptile amphibian, mollusk or crustacean found naturally in a wild state, whether indigenous to Nevada or not and whether raised in captivity of not. The term does not include any wild horse or burro.'' Under state law, holders of water rights must show "beneficial use" of the valuable resource before a permit is granted by the state engineer. Benefiting wildlife is one such allowable use. Wild horse advocates say if the bill passes it will deprive the animals access to water across the harsh desert landscape. Backers of the bill deny that claim. They argue that the bill's intent is to keep the federal government from obtaining new water rights specifically for horses in the future, and force the federal government's hand to deal with too many horses on the range. AB329 received bipartisan support in the Assembly, passing 35-7. It's up for hearing Friday before the Senate Natural Resources Committee. "Contrary to the claims of AB329 supporters, this proposed law could have a catastrophic impact on wild horses and burros who depend on these natural waters for survival," said Bruce Wagman, a lawyer representing the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign and American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in opposing the bill. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is charged with overseeing the estimated 33,000 wild horses that roam freely in 10 Western states. About half of those are in Nevada. Kelvin Hickenbottom, deputy state water engineer, said the BLM currently holds 28 water right permits for wildlife in which horses and burros are identified as users of the water. The bill, he said, "would not allow us to issue a water right for wild horses." The state agency is neutral on the bill. Alan Shepherd, BLM wild horse program manager in Nevada, said the agency's existing water rights are at or near designated herd management areas, where wild horses and burros were included under the wildlife definition. If the bill becomes law, it will "put a different spin on how permits are evaluated in the future," he said. One sponsor of the measure, Assemblyman Pete Goicoechea, R-Eureka, said he introduced the bill at the request of ranchers and hunters. Goicoechea said the bill would not deny animals access to water, and any water rights currently held by the federal government for horses would be grandfathered. And while the state is responsible for its own wildlife, it lacks jurisdiction over horses and burros that are federally protected under the 1971 Free-Roaming Wild Horse and Burro Act. Based on that argument, the BLM should take care of them, he said. Democratic Assemblyman David Bobzien of Reno, another sponsor, said the goal is to not perpetuate the horse problem by making water available. "We have a situation out of whack," he said. "I don't want to see an exacerbation of the situation." Granting water rights, he said, "releases the pressure value on the federal government to manage wild horses." "There is a broad coalition asking for management of wild horses," Bobzien said. Kyle Davis, with the Nevada Conservation League, agreed. "Wild horses are currently causing significant environmental damage on the range," he said.
    May 19, 2011 1422
  • 25 Apr 2011
    Bears beware — Colorado lawmakers worried about the animals' growing population are talking about giving wildlife officials more say over when bears can be hunted. DENVER (AP) — Bears beware — Colorado lawmakers worried about the animals' growing population are talking about giving wildlife officials more say over when bears can be hunted. A proposal set for its first hearing Monday would repeal a 1992 voter-approved initiative that prohibits hunting bears from March 1 to Sept. 1 and give the state Division of Wildlife authority to expand hunting dates. Voters overwhelmingly approved the initiative amid concern that female bears were being hunted in the spring, when they are taking care of their cubs. The initiative also banned hunting bears with dogs and baiting bears with food to kill them. The bill sponsored by Rep. J. Paul Brown would not eliminate those provisions. Brown, a lawmaker from southwestern Colorado, said he's concerned that the animals are becoming less afraid of people. "If at all possible, I just don't want to have a tragedy with some little kid getting killed by a bear if there's a bad bear around," he said. But a wildlife rights group argues the bear population is still vulnerable and its numbers could dwindle fast if more hunting is allowed. "Sure, if you wipe out the whole population there's going to be no conflicts" with people, said Wendy Keefover, director of carnivore protection for WildEarth Guardians. Brown insists he's not advocating a spring bear hunt and that it's unlikely that hunters will be allowed to take the animals during spring. He's also not offering an opinion as to when more hunting should happen. "The Division of Wildlife, I think, are the experts and they're the ones that need to make those decisions," he said. "It's just that right now, as it is in statute, they just don't have that flexibility." Randy Hampton, a DOW spokesman, said the agency is not taking a position on the bill. But he said having additional season-setting flexibility would permit the department to allow bear hunting during the late summer "in areas where bear densities are determined to be too high." "Just because we are given authority to hunt year-round doesn't mean the spring hunt would come back. We're not discussing the spring hunt as an option," Hampton said. Hampton said that wildlife officials estimated the bear population at close to 8,000 in the early 1990s. Additional research is under way and wildlife officials "have conservatively estimated the black bear population in Colorado at approximately 12,000 bears," Hampton said. Bear encounters with people have increased as more Coloradans move into rugged areas and people explore more of the state's backcountry, Hampton said. Urban development, persistent droughts and late frosts also have brought bears and humans closer as the animals search for food. In 2009, wildlife officers and landowners killed 211 bears because of their interaction with people or property, and another 219 in 2010. In 2008, 107 problem bears were killed, according to DOW. Last week, a man in suburban Colorado Springs told police he had to take refuge on top of his truck after he was chased by a mother bear and her two cubs. Last summer, wildlife agents killed a bear that bit a man in Durango who was sleeping in his backyard. The man wasn't seriously hurt. Keefover, with WildEarth Guardians, said bear-versus-human conflicts are a matter of people taking personal responsibility and being smart about not attracting bears by leaving food or trash where it's easily accessible. She said that despite Brown's reassurance that a spring bear hunt won't happen, she's still worried that bears will be targeted when cubs are most dependent on their mothers. "The idea that we need to hunt when cubs are vulnerable is just completely unethical and wrong," she said.
    1219 Posted by Chris Avena
  • Bears beware — Colorado lawmakers worried about the animals' growing population are talking about giving wildlife officials more say over when bears can be hunted. DENVER (AP) — Bears beware — Colorado lawmakers worried about the animals' growing population are talking about giving wildlife officials more say over when bears can be hunted. A proposal set for its first hearing Monday would repeal a 1992 voter-approved initiative that prohibits hunting bears from March 1 to Sept. 1 and give the state Division of Wildlife authority to expand hunting dates. Voters overwhelmingly approved the initiative amid concern that female bears were being hunted in the spring, when they are taking care of their cubs. The initiative also banned hunting bears with dogs and baiting bears with food to kill them. The bill sponsored by Rep. J. Paul Brown would not eliminate those provisions. Brown, a lawmaker from southwestern Colorado, said he's concerned that the animals are becoming less afraid of people. "If at all possible, I just don't want to have a tragedy with some little kid getting killed by a bear if there's a bad bear around," he said. But a wildlife rights group argues the bear population is still vulnerable and its numbers could dwindle fast if more hunting is allowed. "Sure, if you wipe out the whole population there's going to be no conflicts" with people, said Wendy Keefover, director of carnivore protection for WildEarth Guardians. Brown insists he's not advocating a spring bear hunt and that it's unlikely that hunters will be allowed to take the animals during spring. He's also not offering an opinion as to when more hunting should happen. "The Division of Wildlife, I think, are the experts and they're the ones that need to make those decisions," he said. "It's just that right now, as it is in statute, they just don't have that flexibility." Randy Hampton, a DOW spokesman, said the agency is not taking a position on the bill. But he said having additional season-setting flexibility would permit the department to allow bear hunting during the late summer "in areas where bear densities are determined to be too high." "Just because we are given authority to hunt year-round doesn't mean the spring hunt would come back. We're not discussing the spring hunt as an option," Hampton said. Hampton said that wildlife officials estimated the bear population at close to 8,000 in the early 1990s. Additional research is under way and wildlife officials "have conservatively estimated the black bear population in Colorado at approximately 12,000 bears," Hampton said. Bear encounters with people have increased as more Coloradans move into rugged areas and people explore more of the state's backcountry, Hampton said. Urban development, persistent droughts and late frosts also have brought bears and humans closer as the animals search for food. In 2009, wildlife officers and landowners killed 211 bears because of their interaction with people or property, and another 219 in 2010. In 2008, 107 problem bears were killed, according to DOW. Last week, a man in suburban Colorado Springs told police he had to take refuge on top of his truck after he was chased by a mother bear and her two cubs. Last summer, wildlife agents killed a bear that bit a man in Durango who was sleeping in his backyard. The man wasn't seriously hurt. Keefover, with WildEarth Guardians, said bear-versus-human conflicts are a matter of people taking personal responsibility and being smart about not attracting bears by leaving food or trash where it's easily accessible. She said that despite Brown's reassurance that a spring bear hunt won't happen, she's still worried that bears will be targeted when cubs are most dependent on their mothers. "The idea that we need to hunt when cubs are vulnerable is just completely unethical and wrong," she said.
    Apr 25, 2011 1219
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