August 1, 2007 "In The Crosshairs"

In The Crosshairs Newsletter

August 1, 2007

SCI Lion
Gorilla Poaching Stories in Newsweek

Members have noticed this week’s Newsweek Magazine which has a cover story on the poaching of endangered gorillas in the Congo. (See here and here for the full articles). The story uses the terms poaching and hunting interchangeably and, in part, blames international hunters for the species immediate demise. SCI wrote a letter to the editor of Newsweek (see below) citing the benefits to conservation from regulated hunting and differentiating the practice of poaching from approved conservation techniques. If you would like to write a response as well, please use for Newsweek and for the Wall Street Journal who also covered the story. Be sure to include the title and date of the article. (Source: Newsweek / WSJ)

Dear Editor:

Safari Club International (SCI) was appalled to read your story about endangered gorillas being killed in the African Congo. As an international hunting organization created to protect hunting and to promote wildlife conservation worldwide, we are sickened by the senseless slaughter of such majestic creatures. We were also appalled, however, at the article’s incorrect use of the words “poaching” and “hunting” interchangeably, without making any distinction.

Hunting is a lawful activity that is highly regulated on the basis of scientific information in order to conserve wildlife populations. It provides benefits for the conservation of wildlife species around the world. Hunters pay enormous license and permit fees, which essentially give value to the animal and an economic incentive for conservation. This is particularly true in developing countries, where local villages benefit directly from regulated hunting.

Poaching, on the other hand, is not hunting. Poachers kill indiscriminately, without limits or controls, in violation of law and with complete disregard for the welfare of the wildlife species. Poachers are not hunters, and hunters are not poachers.

For more information about SCI and our worldwide conservation efforts, please visit

SCI Lion
Namibia Introduces New Policy for Tourism And Wildlife Concessions

In the wake of all the concession news from Tanzania, we are now hearing about possible new regulations for concessions in Namibia. The Namibian newspaper is reporting that “A new policy has been drafted to regulate the granting of tourism and trophy hunting concessions on State land, which includes game parks, protected and communal areas. The cabinet recently adopted the document, which states that ‘a new concession policy was accordingly developed to serve as basis of new legal provisions concerning concessions that are to become part of the future Parks and Wildlife Management Bill which will replace current legislation.’ The new Policy on Tourism and Wildlife Concessions on State Land lays down clear objectives and principles for the granting of concessions, including empowerment objectives for the communities living in those areas. At the same time, the policy ensures that such concessions do not result in environmental impact or management conflicts. It also establishes a transparent and objective process for the awarding of concessions and provides comprehensive guidelines for its implementation. The new policy provides for the establishment of a special concession unit in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) to oversee the tendering process for concession rights and a concession committee. It will operate on fulltime basis via a secretariat. The committee will consist of representatives of the following ministries: Environment and Tourism, Justice, Finance, Agriculture, and Lands and Resettlement. Additional members will be from the Regional Councils and ‘where appropriate, representatives of the private sector and civil society.’ The Minister of Environment and Tourism will appoint the chairperson of that committee. The concession unit in the MET will further advise communities on legal and policy issues regarding concessions. The unit will undertake feasibility studies once applications have been received for concessions.” We will keep you posted. (Source: The Namibian / TJ Safari Newsletter)

SCI Lion
U.S. Farm Bill Passes House

“On Friday, July 27th, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2419, The Farm, Nutrition, and Bioenergy Act of 2007, commonly called the Farm Bill. This legislation represents the single greatest federal investment in conservation on private land. Positive elements in the House Farm Bill include: Open Fields legislation, which provides $20 million in funding to states enabling them to enhance or create state public access programs; Restoration of the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) & Grassland Reserve Program (GRP) at 3.6 million acres for WRP and 1 million acres for GRP; Increased funding for the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) which assists farmers and ranchers seeking to meet conservation needs for soil, water, wetlands, and wildlife on working lands. The House bill increases EQIP by $1.1 billion over the next five years,” and more. The bill now moves to the Senate's Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee where Chairman Harkin (R-IA) says he wants to focus even more on conservation needs. (Source: TRCP)

SCI Lion
D.C. Hunting Rights

“Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL) has introduced the Equitable Access for DC Hunters Act, which would allow residents of D.C. to pay in-state rates for hunting licenses they obtain in Maryland or Virginia. According to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, a license to hunt statewide costs $18 for residents and $86 for nonresidents. In the Old Line State, a regular hunting license costs $24.50 for residents and $130 for nonresidents, according to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. The D.C. government would reimburse Maryland and Virginia for ‘any revenues foregone. .. as a result of participating in the agreement.’ Congress would then appropriate money to reimburse the District. The measure was referred to both the Natural Resources and the Oversight and Government Reform committees.” The full article can be read at (Source: Roll Call)

SCI Lion
HSUS Introduces Sneaky Anti-Hunting Language

The Humane Society of the United States have asked Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) to insert language into a U.S. House Report that would “ban the use of funds from the US Agency of International Development (USAID) to support any type of hunting anywhere in the world. This is part of a Report on H.R. 2764 (Foreign Operations Funding Bill). USAID dishes out billions of dollars each year to developing countries. Some of this money goes to African countries in particular to support regulated sport hunting as a means of sensible, science based wildlife management.” This is potentially a huge issue for SCI and we are working to remove this language and educate committee members on the positive results of hunting and conservation. (Source: TJ Safari Newsletter)

SCI Lion
UK Gun Rights Restored – Sort Of

“UK Home Secretary Jacqui Smith is pondering a new proposal that will allow dozens of Britain 's top pistol shooters to hold and use their weapons on British soil for the first time in a decade, to maximise the nation's chances of winning medals at the London [Olympic] Games. The remarkable blueprint, thrashed out by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport in consultation with British shooting groups, would grant up to 50 sports pistol shooters temporary exemptions from the 1997 legislation rushed into force following the Dunblane massacre. The permission would run out after the Olympic Games had finished. Shooting enthusiasts last night welcomed the proposals - although they said the government could go much further towards "rehabilitating" their sport following the crackdown ordered after Thomas Hamilton murdered 16 pupils and a teacher at Dunblane Primary in 1996. But anti-gun campaigners reacted furiously to the proposed changes, warning that they represented the "thin end of the wedge", and that the sport would use it to prise out permanent exemptions from the handgun ban.” (Source:

SCI Lion
Feds Propose Land for Endangered Sheep

“More than 400,000 acres of wildlands in the Eastern Sierra Nevada should be made protected habitat for an endangered mountain sheep rebounding from the threat of extinction, the federal government said. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's proposed critical habitat designation is a response to a 2005 lawsuit. Environmentalists claim in the suit the Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep couldn't recover because their habitat wasn't protected as required under the Endangered Species Act. The bighorns live much of the year atop the Sierra Nevada 's granite peaks, where they forage for sagebrush and grasses. Before the turn of the century, thousands of wild bighorns lived in the high Sierra. But predatory mountain lions and genetic problems caused by inbreeding have caused the population to crash. Only about 100 were alive as recently as 1998, a year before the Fish and Wildlife Service listed the sheep as endangered. The proposed 417,577-acre critical habitat area runs from Tuolumne to Tulare counties and juts into the Inyo and Humboldt-Toiyabe national forests, along with neighboring land administered by the Bureau of Land Management. The agency is also preparing a draft recovery plan they will use to coordinate wild bighorn recovery efforts with the Forest Service, National Park Service, U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the California Department of Fish and Game, Williams said. The public can comment on the proposal for the next 60 days, and a final decision is due on July 17, 2008. (Source: FWS / AP)

SCI Lion
Do High Gas Prices Impact Sportsmen?

“Gas prices will impact fishing and hunting participation. According to a poll of 2,481 sportsmen and women conducted by and in June, 2007, over half of all anglers and 40 percent of hunters indicated rising gas prices will cause them to reduce their outdoor activities or reduce their travel distance and boat use. The rest indicated that rising fuel prices would not hinder their outdoor activity, or were not sure of the impacts.”

The specific results were:

Anglers Hunters

  • Higher prices will not affect my fishing/hunting activities: 35.5% 41.6%
  • Higher prices will cause me to fish/hunt less this year: 22.4% 15.8%
  • I will probably fish/hunt the same amount this year, but not travel as far or use a boat as much: 30.0% 25.0%
  • I am not sure how gasoline prices will affect my fishing/hunting this year: 12.0% 17.1%

(Source: Southwick and Associates)