May 15, 2009 "In The Crosshairs"

In The Crosshairs Newsletter

May 15 , 2009

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Safari Club International Members Visit Capitol Hill to Discuss Key Issues

Over 100 Safari Club International (SCI) members met with Members of Congress on the Hill last week in conjunction with SCI’s annual May Board meeting in Washington, DC. In more than 180 meetings, SCI members brought the voice of the hunting and conservation community to the Hill, advocating on issues of importance to SCI and its members.  SCI’s advocacy, firmly rooted in sound science of wildlife conservation, focused on a number of key legislative priorities including several regulatory issues, federal plans that affect management, conservation and hunting access on public lands, in particular the federal management of the polar bear. “SCI, the leader in protecting and expanding the freedom to hunt, is engaged in advocacy on both the state and federal levels. It is important that our members’ voices be heard at the federal legislative level on issues that affect the SCI community,” said SCI President Merle Shepard. Read more about SCI’s day on Capitol Hill by going to

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Sportsmen's Caucus Democrats Defeat Republican Colleagues

“May 14, 2009 (Washington, DC) - Members of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus (CSC) spent a day away from the halls of Congress Tuesday gathering with fellow shooting sports and outdoor enthusiasts for a competition shooting trap, skeet and sporting clays. The annual Congressional Shoot Out, hosted by the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation pits the Democrats against the Republicans in a friendly competition to determine the top shooters in Congress. The Congressional Shoot-Out has become one of the few opportunities for members of Congress to share their mutual enjoyment of the outdoors and the shooting sports. The team of Democrats led by CSC Co-Chair Rep. Dan Boren, including CSC Vice-Chair Rep. Mike Ross, Rep. Mike Thompson, Rep. Leonard Boswell, Rep. Russ Carnahan, Rep. Christopher Carney, Rep. Lincoln Davis, Rep. Jim Marshall, and Rep. Collin Peterson defeated the Republican team led by CSC Co-Chair Rep. Paul Ryan and consisting of Rep. Adam Putnam, Rep. Bob Latta, Rep. Paul Broun, Rep. John Kline, Rep. Rob Wittman, and Rep. Don Young.” Read all about the 2009 Congressional Shoot Out by going to

SCI was represented at this year’s Congressional Shoot Out by SCI Washington D.C. staff members Nelson Freeman, Matt Eckert and Bill McGrath as well as consultants Cindy Marlenee (Past Chair of the CSF Board) and Patrick O’Malley (Safari Times Washington correspondent). The SCI team was paired with Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Vice Chair Rep. Mike Ross (D-AR) for the rounds of sporting clays, trap and skeet. Rep. Ross was a speaker at last week’s Lobby Day briefing and this event provided SCI the opportunity to reinforce the issues for hunting and conservation that are critical to membership.

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Gray Wolves Back Where They Belong – Off the Endangered Species List

Monday, May 4th, 2009 marked the removal of the Western Great Lakes and Rocky Mountain wolf populations (with the exception of Wyoming’s wolves) from the federal Endangered Species List. Wolves in Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Idaho and other states included in the delisting will now be managed by state fish and game authorities. Several groups, that successfully prevented past delisting efforts, have once again announced their plans to head to court to challenge the reclassification of these recovered species. Safari Club International has repeatedly defended the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to delist the wolves and will likely participate again in the upcoming litigation.

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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Retains Polar Bear Rule

In a move that angered many environmental groups, the Obama administration decided to retain a special rule regarding the polar bear, a species listed as threatened under the ESA. The special rule, adopted by the Bush Administration in May 2008 (and reissued in December 2008) exempts most ESA requirements in favor of regulation of the species under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The Rule also established that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would not use the ESA listing of the bear to regulate greenhouse gases. The rule does not affect in any way the current ban on the import of polar bears from Canada. SCI is suing the FWS over both the listing itself and the import ban determination, but is not challenging or defending the special rule. More information about the special rule can be found at

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New Jersey Allows Sunday Hunting of Whitetails

SCI applauds New Jersey for enacting legislation that authorizes bowhunting of whitetail deer on Sundays during deer season, starting this Fall. The law received overwhelming support in both the Assembly and the Senate, and was signed into law by Governor Corzine. The authorized bowhunting is allowed only on private property and state wildlife-management areas. The new bowhunting law does not allow Sunday deer hunting in State parks. The legislation was opposed by the New Jersey Animal Rights Alliance and the Humane Society of the United States, groups that have long opposed SCI efforts to reinstate bear hunting in the state.  For more information on the Sunday hunting, see the news article at or visit the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife at

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U.S. FWS to Conduct ESA Status Review on Pika Due to Projected Climate Change

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced a 90-day finding on a petition to list the American pika (Ochotona princeps) as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. “The American pika is a small montane mammal in the order Lagomorpha (rabbits, hares, and pikas) distributed discontinuously throughout the western United States and Canada.” The FWS found that the petition was warranted primarily due to alleged threats to the species from climate change -- the first climate change listing decision for an animal in the lower-48 states. The FWS has commenced a one year status review to determine if the petitioned action is warranted. To ensure that the status review is comprehensive, the FWS is soliciting scientific and commercial data regarding this species, including “information regarding the species' or subspecies': (1) Historical and current status and distribution; (2) population size and trend; (3) biology and ecology; (4) taxonomy (especially the genetics of the species and subspecies); and (5) ongoing conservation measures for the animals or their habitat.” Comments and information must be filed on or before July 6, 2009. For more information, go to