SCI’s International Government and Public Affairs team has had an action-packed summer in Washington, D.C. Last week marked the final week of SCI’s Big 5 Summer Series, with the last topics covering Traditional Ammunition and No-Net-Loss. The previous series covered International Hunting and Imports and then State Management Authority and Pittman Robertson. The three individual weeks showcased the latest issues affecting the hunting community, SCI’s advocacy work, deep dives into complex topics, and ways to take action.
The hallmark of the final week was a seminar discussion on the use of lead ammo in hunting hosted by SCI’s Litigation team, Jeremy Clare and Regina Lennox. SCI extends a thank you to our featured panelists, Dr. John McDonald, Associate Professor of Environmental Science at Westfield State University; Rick Patterson, Former Executive Director of SAAMI; Kristy Titus Pro Hunter, Competitive Shooter, and Shooting Sports Advocate; and John Frampton, Former President and CEO of the Council to Advance Hunting and the Shooting Sports. Watch the full video here!
This discussion on traditional ammunition stems from the recent draft 2022-2023 Hunt Fish Rule from the Fish and Wildlife Service, which includes a phaseout of lead ammunition on several National Wildlife Refuges across the country. SCI, and thousands of SCI advocates, submitted letters in opposition to this phaseout, which is not scientifically warranted and will ultimately reduce access for hunters. Learn more here.
The week featuring State Management and Pittman-Robertson took a deep dive into U.S.-based threats to the hunting community and the North American Model of Conservation. The RETURN Act would eliminate Pittman-Robertson funding, which is the backbone of state fish and wildlife agencies and conservation efforts. H.R. 7398 would ban predator killing contests and is a total overreach by the federal government, which should not interfere in state management efforts. SCI’s panel featured several state agency directors including Georgia Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Mark Williams, Missouri Department of Conservation Director Sarah Parker Pauley, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission Director Tim McCoy, Wyoming Game and Fish Department Director Brian Nesvik, and Nevada Division of Wildlife Director Tony Wasley. All spoke of the critical funding from Pittman-Robertson and the dangers of federal overreach. Watch the Panel Here.
The first week covered International Hunting and Imports, and the threats both to the hunting community and international conservation efforts. Specifically, Section 439 in the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill would essentially ban the import of lion or elephant trophies from Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. This would kneecap funding for proven African conservation strategies and harm local communities. The House of Representatives has passed the bill, Section 439 intact, but SCI is working to have the language removed in the Senate. Ultimately, the U.S. – or any other country – has no right to govern the wildlife management of a sovereign nation.
This summer saw unprecedented action from SCI’s members and advocates using our Hunter Advocacy Action Center. Our six petitions on these issues were Opposing Section 439, Opposing Lead Ammo Bans, Opposing the RETURN Act, Opposing H.R. 7398, and the No-Net-Loss Petition, totaling record numbers of thousands of advocates adding their name to petitions, contacting the federal government, and writing to Congress. This summer also saw huge engagement on social media channels.
Featured videos during the Series included messages straight from Washington from EVP Ben Cassidy on International Hunting, State Management/PR, and Traditional Ammunition. Additionally, Ryan Bassham and Keith Warren shared messages against trophy import bans; Melissa Bachman spoke out against the RETURN Act; and Anna V. and Kristy Titus opposed lead ammunition bans. Finally, SCI thanks our champions in Congress, Congressman Jeff Duncan, Congressman Richard Hudson, and Senator Steve Daines for speaking against trophy import bans by the federal government.
Thank you to all SCI members, advocates, and participants for your involvement in the Big 5 Summer Series! For full information on each series, please visit https://safariclub.org/big-five-series/.