Beware the The Hunt Unrestricted on National Treasures Act, or “HUNT Act”

HUNT Act for Hunters. Legislation introduced Thursday in the U.S. Senate would increase hunting and angling access on public lands and bolster the nation’s outdoor recreation economy. The Hunt Unrestricted on National Treasures Act, or “HUNT Act,” introduced this afternoon by Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, directs federal agencies to inventory all public lands greater than 640 acres where hunting and fishing are legal but inaccessible with the goal of expanding access for members of the public. The legislation finances land acquisitions from willing sellers through a small percentage of Land and Water Conservation Fund monies. Heinrich introduced similar legislation in 2012, when he was a member of the House of Representatives. Some sportsmen’s organizations hailed the measure as a way of maintaining and expanding sportsmen’s access to public lands that provide important fish and wildlife habitat and offer valuable opportunities for hunting and fishing.

Read more about the HUNT Act:


Anti-Wildlife Legislation Introduced to Congress

Here’s a glimpse at things from the point of view of the dark side–an article in the “Daily Caller” in the “Guns and Gear” section from the Safari Club International (the self-proclaimed keepers of “common sense”) touting pro-hunting bills (which need to be stopped)…

Essential legislation to protect hunting introduced in U.S. Congress

Washington, D.C. – Safari Club International (SCI) supports the Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage and Opportunities Act introduced by Congressman Dan Benishek (MI) and Senator Lisa Murkowski (AK). H.R. 1825 and S. 170 will require the U.S. Forest Service (FS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to manage their lands for hunting, angling, and target- shooting based recreation. Members of Safari Club International will be traveling to Washington, D.C. on May 9th to advocate for H.R. 1825 and S. 170.

“For hunters, it is critical that legislation be passed that will ensure future generations of sportsmen and women have every opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors,” said SCI President John Whipple. “We are extremely thankful for the leadership that Congressman Dan Benishek of Michigan and Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska have shown with the introduction of this needed legislation.”

The U.S. House of Representatives passed this language with bi-partisan support as part of the Sportsmen’s Act of 2012, whereas the Senate never took final action during the 112th Congress.

“We hope to have this common sense legislation move quickly through both the House and Senate,” concluded Whipple.

Other legislation that is critical to sportsmen includes: H.R. 1818 (Young-AK) and S. 847 (Crapo-ID) allowing the importation of a small number of already harvested polar bears; H.R. 1819 (Young-AK) reinstating sustainable use importation of polar bears by U.S. citizens; and H.R. 322 (Miller-FL) protecting traditional hunting and fishing equipment and other policy issues important to all hunters.

More than 200 meetings will take place on May 9, 2013, as part of Safari Club International’s overall advocacy efforts to protect the future of hunting. The grassroots involvement from SCI members enhances the year-round efforts of SCI’s D.C. office. While SCI is headquartered in Tucson, Ariz., a team of attorneys, policy experts, and dedicated hunters lead SCI’s advocacy efforts in Washington.

Contact: Nelson Freeman;


Don’t Let Orrin Hatch His Evil Plan

It appears certain U.S. Legislators won’t be satisfied until wolves in America are a thing of the past once again . An article entitled “Hatch, fellow senators petition to end gray wolves’ protected status” in ksl news, Utah, begins:

Led by Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, 72 senators and representatives formally asked the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Monday to delist the gray wolf from the Endangered Species Act. The request in a letter sent to the agency argues that the gray wolf is no longer an endangered species and that uncontrolled gray wolf population growth is a threat to other indigenous wildlife as well as the hunting and ranching industries.

It’s almost laughable that Senator Hatch and his cronies expect us to believe they suddenly care so much about “indigenous wildlife” since—if allowed to hatch—Orrin Hatch’s half-baked, half-witted plan to delist wolves would effectively seal the fate of one the countries most endangered native species.

According to their letter, “State governments are fully qualified to responsibly manage wolf populations…” Sorry senators, nothing we’ve seen so far backs that statement up; it’s simply not true. Now, if the quote was “State governments are fully qualified to irresponsibly wipe out their wolf populations,” then I’d have to agree.

Sixty-five Republicans and seven Democrats signed the Hatch’s evil anti-wolf plan, including every congressman from Utah.

Wednesday’s official request was in response to a March 4 letter sent by 52 federal lawmakers requesting that gray wolves keep their protected status. Environmental groups say the government has its priorities wrong and some are even threatening to sue for a reversal if a delisting goes into effect.

“We believe national delisting would be premature,” said Adam Roberts, executive vice president of Born Free USA, a wildlife advocacy group. “When you have a species that varies greatly from region to region, it’s very dangerous to remove protection nationwide. It puts a bounty on wolves, including where there haven’t been healthy population levels. … Once there’s a market, wolves aren’t safe anywhere.”

Derek Goldman, a field representative for the Endangered Species Coalition, believes a nationwide delisting would be an unnecessary blanket solution. He said stable wolf populations are isolated to areas where their endangered status has already been lifted. “It seems really preposterous to delist wolves where they are barely making a comeback and where there are still great, natural habitats for them,” Goldman said.

And as Howling for Justice posted this morning: Can you imagine the carnage if wolves were systematically delisted across the lower 48? They can’t catch a break now, when they’re federally protected. The USFWS has no reason to take this action against wolves. Wolf recovery is not even close to being accomplished and in fact it’s going in reverse due to USFWS removing their federal protections and turning them over to hostile state management. The pressure to delist is coming from the rabid wolf haters, who believe “the only good wolf is a dead wolf”. Where is the science in that USFWS? I won’t hold my breath waiting for an answer.

And USA Today reports:

“Environmentalists band together to defend gray wolves”

A U.S. Fish and Wildlife report last year proposed dropping wolves from the endangered list in most areas where they’re known not to live, triggering an outcry.

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Western environmental groups say they’re alarmed that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering a plan to end federal protections for gray wolves in vast areas where the animals no longer exist.

The groups say ending federal protections would keep wolves from expanding their range back into states that could support them, including Colorado and California.

“As a matter of principle, I just think it’s wrong,” said Jay Tutchton, a Colorado lawyer with the group WildEarth Guardians.

Tutchton’s group has sued over recent action to end federal protections for wolves in Wyoming. Wolves in most of the “Cowboy State” are classified as unprotected predators and scores have been killed since federal protections ended last fall.

“The Endangered Species Act was designed to protect species, including in places where they no longer reside,” Tutchton said. “You were supposed to try to recover them, not throw in the towel.”

The Fish and Wildlife Service could announce as soon as this spring whether it will propose a blanket delisting of wolves in most of the lower 48 states. Wolves in the Northern Rockies and around the Great Lakes, where reintroduced populations are well-established, are already off the Endangered Species List.
Go Here to urge the President not to allow the removal of wolves from the Endangered Species List.

copyrighted Hayden wolf in lodgepoles

Back To the Bad Old Days

What’s up with all the anti-wildlife legislation going on around the country these days? Everywhere you look there’s some state senator or representative introducing bills to keep non-human animals down and implement some new form of cruelty to punish them for the crime of not being born of our privileged species.

A few examples: a self-amused eastern Washington representative is calling for east-side wolves to be moved out of his district to the west side of the Cascade Mountains; at the same time Washington State politicians just introduced three bills to make it easier for ranchers to use lethal measures on wolves whenever they see fit; and of course you’ve heard that Montana’s public servants are on a rampage to get rid of their resident wolves. Now one of their legislators wants to lower the minimum hunting age for that state to nine years old.

Meanwhile, in Alaska, a senator just put forth legislation to instate a $100.00 bounty on sea otters! Never mind that these playful, aquatic mammals were nearly completely wiped out during the fur trade era, are critically endangered or extinct from much of their former range and are still listed in Alaska as Threatened or Endangered under the federal ESA, those poor, underpaid (sarcasm intended) commercial crab fishermen see them as competition. (Far from downtrodden, crabbers take pride in being the wealthiest of commercial fishermen; no doubt the senator who proposed the bounty is counting on a kickback into his campaign coffers from the crabbing industry for his otter oppression bill.)

And the list of detrimental anti-wildlife legislation goes on and on.

Is it just me, or have good ol’ boy state politicians stepped up the pace of non-human animal persecution? It’s as though they’re intentionally trying to drag us back to the bad old days of the 1800s, arguably this country’s most reckless period for uncontrolled animal exploitation—besides, perhaps, the present.

Take Action:

Not surprisingly, state legislators only take input from residents of their given state, but since there are bogus bills and measures cropping up across the country, there should be something to speak out against wherever you live. For instance, if you live in Washington State, contact your senator and urge them to oppose anti-wolf bills SB 5187, SB 5188 and SB 5193. Let them know:

  • These three bills would undermine the state’s wolf management plan by giving authority to the county legislators and local sheriffs over the state wildlife agency biologists, and would allow the public to override the state and kill wolves perceived to be a threat to livestock on public and private lands.
  • There are only 50 wolves in Washington.  Now is not the time to remove their protection.
  • Washington’s wolf management plan was created with massive public involvement and adopted unanimously by the Washington Wildlife Commission; powerful ranching advocates should not be allowed to undermine it.
Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2013. All Rights Reserved

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2013. All Rights Reserved


Montana: Love the Place, Hate the Politicians

In a variation of the old adage, “Love the country, hate the people,” my new motto for my former and possibly future home state is, “Love the place, hate the politicians—especially the wildlife policy makers.

Though I have a lot of like-minded friends back there, they are mostly “new-comers” from other states who have moved there because of their love for the land. They don’t share the self-centered patrician attitude of many of the Montana “natives,” so they tend to appreciate the wildlife more.

But the Montana state legislators think they know who their constituents are—and they’re not the wolves or us wolf advocates. In their zeal to fast-track a proposal to expand their already out-of-control wolf hunt, the Montana State Senate on Thursday suspended its rules so it could take initial and final votes on the same day on a measure that already had overwhelmingly cleared the House. The Senate backed it 45-4, and now the unbelievable piece of anti-wolf legislation will soon be sent to the governor’s desk for his signature. (It must be quite a challenge for the evil, pointy-tailed office-bearers to hold a pen with those cloven hooves of theirs).

The following is an AP article entitled, “Legislature gives quick OK to expanded Montana wolf hunt” (my parenthetical asides are added when necessary or appropriate):

House Bill 73 lets the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks increase the number of wolves one hunter can take, allows for electronic calls, and removes a requirement to wear hunter orange outside general deer and elk season. (The one bright side: more hunting accidents.)

The measure also prohibits the state wildlife agency from banning wolf hunts in areas around national parks. (Parks like Yellowstone, where wolves are used to seeing appreciative, peaceful people and are therefore deceitfully and easily killed by the malicious ones waiting just outside the park boundaries). Its swift passage would allow the changes to take effect during the hunting season that’s currently under way…

The department last month abandoned efforts to shut down gray wolf hunting and trapping in an area north of Yellowstone National Park, a move originally promoted by concerns that too many wolves wandering out of the park were dying. (“Dying”… Is that what the AP thinks happened to them? Or, are they just being pleasant? What they meant was, “…too many wolves wandering out of the park and being stuck in a trap and/or shot to death by bloodthirsty wolf-haters!”)

Lawmakers wanted to make sure such a regional closure doesn’t come up again.

Gov. Steve Bullock on Thursday indicated support for the legislation, noting it had been backed by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. (Not surprising that MFWP gave it their cloven-hooved stamp of approval).

Fish, Wildlife and Parks said it already has prepared rule changes that will allow the legislation to immediately impact what remains of the wolf hunting season ending Feb. 28.

Hunters and trappers so far this season have killed fewer than 200 wolves. Wildlife officials are hoping to reduce the animals’ population from an estimated 650 wolves to around 450. The goal is to reduce wolf attacks on (non-native) livestock and help some elk herds that have (allegedly) been in decline due to wolf attacks (read: natural predation).

Wildlife advocates have argued that the state is being too aggressive (read: violent, hostile, destructive, belligerent, antagonistic, bellicose) against a species only recently restored to the Northern Rockies after it was widely exterminated last century.

But no one spoke against the expanded wolf hunt on the Senate floor.

“These creatures are hard to hunt, and we need to allow our wolf hunters the best chance of getting into them while the season is still ongoing,” said Sen. Larry Jent, D-Bozeman (“getting into them”—how sick is that kind of talk?)

Sen. Fred Thomas, R-Stevensville, argued it doesn’t go far enough to limit wolf numbers. He said the FWP is going to have to start allowing snare trapping of the wolves, a controversial practice the wildlife commission banned with its trapping regulations. (Even the MFWP isn’t willing to descend into that level of hell.)

“While this bill will do some things, it is not the big answer,” Thomas said. “If you really want to get after this, you have to authorize snaring.”

So sayeth the elected official from the great state of Montana. No, I wouldn’t feel any more fairly represented there now than the wolves are.

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2013. All Rights Reserved

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2013. All Rights Reserved

Sport Hunting Should Go the Way of the Twinkie

In bemoaning the end of the Twinkie era (the company was only able to sell 36 million of the nutrition-less, lard-filled sponge-cakes last year and thus had to declare bankruptcy), the press have been calling Twinkies an American icon; a “family tradition,” even.

But what do Twinkies have to do with sport hunting? Well, both are long-standing traditions that should never have been. Hostess Twinkies (on par with hot dogs and canned spam) are an extremely unhealthy, potentially addictive, pseudo-food gimmick that should never have been invented, while hunting is a murderous act of desperation that should never have been taken lightly enough to have morphed into a sport. Both have seen better days, but while the Twinkie, along with its partners in crime, Ho Hos and Ding Dongs, will soon be ancient history, the US Senate is considering forever enshrining sport hunting with its very own act of Congress, the “Sportsmen’s” Act of 2012.

Those of you fortunate enough to own a first edition copy of Exposing the Big Game are in possession of a collector’s item. Subsequent printings will have the word “Twinkie” removed, since future generations will have no idea what they were.

The following paragraph from the book mentions the iconic junk food in association with an exceptionally despicable form of hunting–bear baiting…

Sometimes Elmer sets out a pile of “bait,” using whatever he happens to have on hand. Today it’s Twinkies and hot dogs (no surprise there). Then he waits in a lawn chair safely perched on a tree stand (a platform secured high in a tree, reminiscent of his childhood tree-house) for an unsuspecting ursine to discover his offering. To pass the time, Elmer reads a frightening bear-scare story in the latest issue of his favorite sportsmen’s magazine. After a while, a beastly bruin catches wind of his Twinkies. Now it’s time for action! With the scary bear’s attention focused on the goodies, the plucky huntsman makes his kill.

Unfortunately, now anti-hunters won’t be able to use the “Twinkie Defense” if they go ballistic to protect an animal from hunters like Elmer.

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2012. All Rights Reserved

Call Today! The “Sportsmen’s” Act of 2012 Must Fail

URGENT!  Before you read another line, pick up your phone, call your Senators and tell them to OPPOSE S 3525 (the so-called, “Sportsmen’s” Act of 2012)! You can find the contact numbers for your senators at the following web page:

Though the threat of having to watch bowhunter Paul Ryan by crowned Vice President has passed, the specter of sport hunting still haunts the halls of Congress. Under the cunning guise of “conservation,” the Sportsmen’s Act of 2012, S 3525, is a Senate version of the House’s ridiculous “Sportsmen’s Heritage Act” (what will they think of next, a Serial Murderer’s Heritage Act?).

No animal should be reduced to the level of mere object only to be “harvested” at the casual whim of jaded trophy seekers out for a diversion from their meaningless lives.

For the sake of wildlife, public lands and unspoiled wilderness nationwide, we must stop this absurd act from becoming law.

Of course, the animal’s enemies are lining up behind it. According to a new post in Outdoor Life (a popular “sportsmen’s” magazine that actually promotes outdoor death) entitled, “Must-Pass Legislation: Sportsmen’s Act of 2012,”

“The fight for the Sportsmen’s Act isn’t over. The NRA, National Shooting Sports Foundation, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Boone and Crocket Club, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, and a host of other national, regional and local groups are calling all hands to lobby their Senators for passage.”

Make no mistake, those of us who truly care about wildlife wouldn’t want to see this pass even if it were a painfully annoying kidney stone. The Sportsmen’s Act of 2012 is a must-fail piece of legislation.


Thanks to the Animal Welfare Institute for the following action alert:

On November 13, their first day back in session following the recent election, the U.S. Senate will resume consideration of The Sportsmen’s Act of 2012 (S. 3525). Please call and urge your Senators to oppose S. 3525.

If enacted, S. 3525 will have substantial and direct adverse impacts on wildlife, public health and existing conservation efforts. This bill would weaken protections offered by laws such as the Marine Mammal Protection Act, Toxic Substances Control Act and Endangered Species Act. Included in the bill’s language are provisions that would:

•Eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority under the Toxic Substances Control Act to regulate hazardous substances—including lead, a dangerous neurotoxin—released by ammunition and sport fishing waste.

•Encourage federally-funded construction and expansion of public shooting ranges on state and federal land, including land managed by the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management.

•Amend the Marine Mammal Protection Act to permit importation of polar bear carcasses taken before the species was listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act in 2008—including those taken despite multiple warnings of an imminent ban on imports.

This legislation, if enacted, will interfere with important statutory protections affecting animal welfare, human health, and the environment.

The Senate is moving quickly on this bill, so your help is urgently needed TODAY.  Please contact your Senators by phone, email, or fax and tell them to oppose S. 3525!

You can identify your Senators and their contact information here.

Sample Message:

As one of your constituents, I urge you to help protect human health, wildlife and public lands by voting against S. 3525. This legislation, if passed, will undermine provisions of existing conservation statutes including the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Toxic Substances Control Act. It will also interfere with the exercise of authority by federal agencies responsible for managing federal lands and protecting public health. Please oppose S. 3525, and help to protect wildlife, habitat and the public.

Thank you,