March 19, 2008 "In The Crosshairs"

In The Crosshairs Newsletter

March 19, 2008

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Protect Wildlife in Alaska

The Alaska Chapter ofSCI is reaching out to all SCI members to look for support on the upcoming ballot initiative to stop predator management in Alaska. You can support the cause and get more information at the Alaskans for Professional Wildlife Management’s website at The Alaska Chapter ofSCI has also put together a raffle to raise resources to educate the public on the issue; there are three special trips being raffled off, a Kenai Fishing trip, a red stag hunt and a brown bear hunt. There are only 200 tickets for sale and all the trips are designed for chapters to utilize as part of either a 2008 or 2009 fundraiser. The Alaska Chapter representatives will have tickets available at the SCI Board Meeting in Washington, D.C. in May or chapters can contact the Alaska Chapter SCI at or If this initiative passes, we can expect the ungulate population to be decimated in areas where it has just started to rebound and this will result in lost opportunity for current and future generations.

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SCI Sits on Sporting Conservation Council

Department of the Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne has reauthorized the Sporting Conservation Council (SCC). The SCC provides advice to Federal agencies through the Department of Interior and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The council will advise on the importance of natural resources and the importance of social and economic benefits through recreational hunting. The SCC works to encourage a cooperative partnership between the Public Agencies and the sportsmen’s conservation community.

SCI President-Elect and Government Affairs Committee Chairman, Merle Shepard was re-appointed to the SCC by Secretary Kempthorne. Jeff Crane, President of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, as well as SCI Government Affairs Committee member, was also re-appointed to the SCC.

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Washington, D.C. Handgun Debate

On Tuesday, March 18, 2008 the Supreme Court of the United States officially began hearing District of Columbia v. Heller. From the SCI and SCIF offices in Washington, D.C., staffers observed lines forming over 24 hours before the start of the hearing. SCI “In the Crosshairs” will send updates on the progress of the case as the weeks pass.

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So-Called “Bear Protection Bill” Exposed

“At the urging of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, a letter signed by twenty-two organizations representing millions of sportsmen was sent to Rep. Nick Rahall, Chairman and Rep. Don Young, Ranking Member of the House Natural Resources Committee, strongly opposing HR5534, the supposed ‘Bear Protection Act of 2008’. The letter, which was introduced into a hearing this week by former Caucus Chairman, Don Young (R-AK), requested that the committee oppose the bill and give no further legislative attention to it.” (Source: Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation,

SCI Foundation’s Deputy Conservation Program Manager, Matt Eckert, observed testimony of the U.S. FWS Law Enforcement Division and the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies stating that black bear populations were healthy across their range in North America. Also reiterated throughout the March 11th hearing was that the Bear Protection Act would be duplicative to the Lacey Act.

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SCI Attends WFSA

On March 12 -13, 2008, SCI’s International Affairs Manager, Anika Belinfanti, attended the annual meeting for the World Forum on the Future of Sport Shooting Activities (WFSA) in Nuremberg, Germany. The meeting discussed various issues of importance to the shooting sports community, namely a proposed symposium to discuss the Environmental and Economic Benefits of Hunting.  SCI is currently exploring opportunities to sponsor and participate in this symposium which will provide a comprehensive paper on this topic. Efforts such as these reinforce the message that SCI is “First for Hunters” and committed to the sustainable use of wildlife as an effective management tool.

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Secretary Kempthorne Announces Funding for Wetland Projects

“The Migratory Bird Conservation Commission today approved more than $29 million in federal funding for the protection and management of nearly 190,000 acres of wetlands and associated habitats in the U.S. that will benefit ducks and waterfowl nationwide under the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA). The Commission, composed of members of Congress and federal cabinet secretaries, and chaired by Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne, also approved nearly $3 million under NAWCA to enhance wetland and waterfowl management in Mexico and more than $4.2 million for the purchase of 2,213 acres of wetlands for inclusion in the National Wildlife Refuge System.” (Source: