December 12, 2019

Alaska Sues U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Over Refuge Predator Program

“The state of Alaska has filed a lawsuit challenging the legality of a federal agency’s restrictions on predator harvests on wildlife refuges and national parks there.

State attorneys filed the lawsuit Jan. 13 in the U.S. District Court of Alaska, claiming new rules adopted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) violate a 1980s law authorizing the state to manage wildlife, impairs indigenous peoples’ ability to harvest food for sustenance, and sets a precedence to restrict future fish and game harvests, intended to be under state control.

The new rules prohibit taking black or brown bear cubs or sows with cubs, taking brown bears over bait, taking bears using traps or snares, taking wolves and coyotes from May 1 to Aug. 9, and taking bears from an aircraft or on the same day as air travel has occurred.

In 2015 the National Park Service (NPS), also under the Department of the Interior, placed similar restrictions on national park lands there.”<<<Read More>>>

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Norway imprisons five men for hunting wolves – UPI.com

Norway on Tuesday handed down prison sentences to five men accused of hunting wolves last year, the first such case to be prosecuted in the Scandinavian country, where wolf populations are drastically low.

The case at the South Oesterdal District Court in eastern Norway ended with the main defendant receiving a one-year, eight-month sentence, while four others were given sentences between six months and a year, as well as hunting bans of various lengths. A sixth defendant was not charged.

Source: Norway imprisons five men for hunting wolves – UPI.com

For copy of wolf necropsy report in this case.

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HSUS Declares Maine Bear Hunting a Target in 2016

Press Release from the U.S. Sportsman’s Alliance:

Just months after a resounding defeat by Maine voters, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has announced plans to bring yet another ballot issue on bear hunting back to Maine.

On Tuesday, Feb. 24, lawyers for HSUS and the state of Maine were in court to debate the lawsuit brought by HSUS against the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. That suit sought to stop the state’s wildlife experts from explaining to voters the true dangers of HSUS’s bear hunting ban. Despite an overwhelming decision by Maine Superior Court Justice Joyce Wheeler that sided with the state’s right to provide comments, HSUS continues to pursue a legal challenge.

As part of the discussions about the pending litigation, an attorney for HSUS, Rachel Wertheimer, advised the court that they will again put the question on the 2016 ballot, and will be filing the initial paperwork soon.

“I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that these guys will stop at nothing to pursue their radical, anti-hunting agenda,” said Nick Pinizzotto, USSA president and CEO. “They spent more than $2.5 million dollars trying to buy an election. When it was clear they were about to lose, they sued the state to prevent the true experts from explaining the dangers of the issue to voters. And now they are making it crystal clear that they do not respect the will of the voters – who have twice sent HSUS and their allies packing.”

In November, voters rejected the bear hunting ban (Question 1) by a 53.6 to 46.3 percent margin, just as they did in 2004 – the last time HSUS brought the issue to Maine.

“How many times are we going to have to debate this? They’ve lost before the legislature, they’ve lost at the ballot box, and they’ve lost in the courts,” Pinizzotto continued. “This is nothing more than a direct look straight into the heart of the anti-hunting movement, a movement that will obviously stop at nothing to accomplish their agenda.”

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RMEF Files to Intervene in Great Lakes Wolf Suit

MISSOULA, Mont. – The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit by several animal rights groups seeking to return gray wolves in the Great Lakes region to the Endangered Species List. If granted, Judge Beryl A. Howell will consider RMEF positions in her U.S. District Court in Washington D.C.

“It is of paramount importance that everyone recognizes that states, not the federal government, are best qualified to manage a recovered species like the wolf,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “This suit, like so many previous frivolous filings, will frustrate science-based management and cause conservation damage into the future.”

Gray wolves recovered to more than 4,000 in the Great Lakes prior to delisting in January 2012.
Minnesota had an estimated population of 3,000, while Wisconsin and Michigan had about 850 and 700 respectively. The removal of wolves from federal protection happened after several years of litigation and returned responsibility for managing wolf populations to the states.

“These animal rights groups are crying wolf by claiming state management threatens to push populations to the brink of extinction,” added Allen. “There is no science that supports these claims and wolf experts like Dr. David Mech, founder of the International Wolf Center have already stated that regulated hunting by states will not negatively [effect?] the states’ wolf populations.”

Allen went on to say that, “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.”

In October 2012, the Minnesota Court of Appeals denied an attempt by environmental groups seeking to stop the state’s wolf hunting and trapping seasons stating the “petitioners failed to demonstrate the existence of irreparable harm.”

In response to the Great Lakes suit, the secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Cathy Stepp, issued grave concern over the legal maneuver stating that the wolf population in her state already grew to more than eight times the delisting goals.

“Our intent is to manage the wolf, now that it has recovered, as we do other species – informed by science and in balance with social needs. Relisting the wolf under the Endangered Species Act is neither informed by science nor in balance with Wisconsin’s needs,” said Stepp. “This has the potential to halt wolf hunting in Wisconsin and leave the state powerless to effectively address livestock depredations, and would end the state’s ability to actively manage our wolf population.”

“RMEF will vigorously defend the delisting because states need to manage wolves just as they do elk, deer, bears and all other wildlife. There is no real science that disputes the fact that gray wolves are recovered and expanding, and there is no compelling reason why states cannot manage wolf populations,” said Allen.

If successful as an intervener, RMEF will join the Hunter Conservation Coalition group comprised of Safari Club International, National Rifle Association, U.S. Sportsmen?s Alliance Foundation, Wisconsin Bowhunters Association, Upper Peninsula Bear Houndsmen Association, Michigan United Conservation Clubs, and the Michigan Hunting Dog Federation.

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