May 25, 2007 "In The Crosshairs"

In The Crosshairs Newsletter

May 25, 2007

SCI Lion
Breaking News: Wyoming Changes Direction on Wolves

On Thursday, May 24th, Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal officially endorsed a draft state management plan that appears to satisfy the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's requirements for delisting the state's gray wolf population. Back in February of this year, the FWS announced its intention to delist Wyoming 's gray wolves if the state would adopt a management plan for its wolves acceptable to the Service. The Service is concerned about wolf conservation once the state gained full management authority over the species. Governor Freudenthal's endorsement of the plan is the most promising step toward the FWS's ability to delist the wolves of the Northern Rockies gray wolf population, including in Wyoming , Montana and Idaho. The delisting still has several hurdles. One involves changes to Wyoming's statutes and regulations to implement the plan. Another involves additional negotiations and agreements between the FWS and Wyoming over the management of the state's wolves during the period in which delisting can be finalized, particularly over wolves that harm the state's ungulate populations. We will continue to update you as this story unfolds.

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Budget Talks Produce Millions for Wildlife

The House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, led by Chairman Rep. Norm Dicks (D-WA), allocated $85 million for the State Wildlife Grants Program, the nation’s core program for preventing wildlife from becoming endangered. This record level of funding for State Wildlife Grants has only been reached once before, in 2002. In April, 222 Members of Congress – 162 Representatives and 60 Senators – supported the increase to $85 million in a bi-partisan letter to the Subcommittees, saying that State Wildlife Grants are “vital to conservation and an important investment for future generations of Americans.” The Teaming with Wildlife Coalition, including over 5,000 conservation-minded organizations, also advocated for the $85 million figure for State Wildlife Grants. (Source: AFWA)

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Multinational Species Fund at Historic High

In more budget news, the House Interior Appropriations Committee restored the Multi National Species funds to an all time high. The committee accepted an amendment from Rep. Tom Udall (D-NM) to increase the five mammal and turtle funds to $10 million. These funds help rhinos, tigers, elephants and other species by providing on-the-ground resources for local communities to help fuel conservation. The Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Fund was also increased from $4 million in the budget request to $5 million which brings the overall total in the House to $15 million. This is the amount recommended in the International Conservation Budget and by the Multinational Species Coalition, of which SCI is a founding member.

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Refuge Funding Increased

Finally, good news in the budget for America ’s Refuge system. The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies approved $451 million for the National Wildlife Refuge System for operations and maintenance, a $56 million increase over the President's request. Recently, the refuges were forced to cut staffing in some regions due to a crippling budget backlog of over $2.5 billion. This funding will help refuge’s support staff, maintenance, road construction and other projects. The Cooperative Alliance for Refuge Enhancement (CARE), a coalition of conservation organizations of which SCI is a member, was instrumental with preparing the budget request.

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Bison Range Deal Falls Apart

According to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) “an effort by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) to craft a five-year agreement for cooperation at the National Bison Range Complex with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) has come to naught. Instead of negotiating a cooperative agreement, the CSKT has gone over the heads of the FWS to political appointees in the Interior Department to obtain a deal ceding management control and a guaranteed federal payroll to the tribes. One major point of disagreement has been the insistence by the FWS that ‘all work performed at the NBR would be supervised by the Service’s Refuge Manager.’ On December 11, 2006, the FWS cancelled a previous, troubled 18 month-long arrangement with the tribes citing both non-performance and harassment of refuge employees. In recent weeks, the CSKT has hired a public relations firm, published full page ads and made several trips back to Washington, D.C. to meet with Interior officials. This concerted tribal campaign appears to be making some headway in that an Interior draft agreement granting the tribe management control and an increased number of guaranteed positions is now working its way through the bureaucracy. At the same time, an unusual joint grievance by current and former refuge employees charging abuse and intimidation during the now terminated joint-CSKT operation has been resolved in the employees’ favor. In addition, an investigation by the Interior Office of Inspector General into the role political influence played in the genesis and collapse of the prior CSKT agreement is complete with a report due out shortly. To further complicate matters, the Interior Department has been delaying enactment of a national policy to guide future agreements negotiated under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, the authority for joint arrangements at the National Bison Range. Another 18 refuges and 34 national parks are eligible for similar agreements but have no policy to guide them.” SCI will keep you posted. (Source: PEER)

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Congress Shoots Clays, Not Each Other

“Putting partisan bickering aside, the common sentiment echoed by members of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus at the 13th Annual Congressional Shoot-Out was that Republicans and Democrats stand united in support of protecting and promoting the rights to hunt and shoot. The event organized by the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation pits the Democrats against their Republican colleagues on the trap, skeet and sporting clays ranges to establish the straightest shooters on Capitol Hill. As the smoke cleared at the end of the day, the Democrats lead by Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus Vice Chair Congressman Dan Boren (D-OK) won the event for the second time in the event's history. Former Sportsmen's Caucus Co-Chair Congressman Mike Thompson (D-CA) triumphed as the 2007 individual Congressional Top Gun with a score of 66 broken clays out of 82, followed closely behind by the Top Gun Democrat Congressman Collin Peterson (D-MN) who broke 62 clays throughout the day and Top Gun Republican Congressman John Kline (R-MN) with 60 busted clays.” SCI has participated in this event for many years. (Source: CSF)

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Hunting University?

“Montgomery Community College (MCC) in Troy, NC will be offering a first-of-its-kind program in shooting and hunting sports management for persons interested in getting into the business side of shooting and hunting sports. The two-year associate degree program can be taken almost entirely online with one gunsmithing lab course to be held on MCC's campus. The program was the brainchild of Larry Potterfield, President and CEO of Midway USA, distributor of one of the world's largest selection of shooting, reloading, gunsmithing and optics products. Potential students interested in the program can find out more about it by visiting the college's web site at, or by calling 800-839-6222.” (Source: Outdoor Wire).

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Have you Hunted in China?

Graduate students are carrying out a short survey to assist in developing hunting in China. Tres Masser and his wife, Beth, Texas Christian University MBA students, are interning in China this summer to assist in developing hunting. Information regarding experiences in China is needed to fully understand the dynamics of China hunting. If you have hunted in China and are interested in participating, please see the attached document and return the completed survey to by no later than June 5th. Thank you.

China Hunting Survey

Remember our Fallen – Have a Pleasant Memorial Day Weekend.