On April 15, Safari Club International (SCI) joined with the National Rifle Association of America, Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation, and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to appeal an erroneous decision of the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana denying the pro-hunting organizations’ efforts to intervene to defend the expansion of hunting opportunities on federal lands.
In Center for Biological Diversity v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the plaintiff challenged a 2020 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regulation, which expanded hunting and fishing opportunities on almost 100 National Wildlife Refuges around the country. The plaintiff wrongly asserts that this expanded hunting and fishing threatens Endangered Species Act listed species like grizzly bears and whooping cranes, and challenges the use of lead ammunition and fishing tackle on National Wildlife Refuges. The pro-hunting organizations seek to defend the 2020 regulation, which is consistent with the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act’s directive to prioritize hunting and fishing on refuges.
In the appeal, the hunting organizations will demonstrate that the district court erred in ruling that hunter advocacy organizations do not have a legal interest in maintaining a rule that expanded hunting access. SCI is a leading hunter advocacy organization and submitted multiple declarations of members who want to take advantage of expanded hunting and fishing opportunities provided in the 2020 rule.
“The district court’s ruling ignores the clear interest of SCI members who want to take advantage of expanded hunting on these federal lands,” said SCI CEO W. Laird Hamberlin. “Hunters have a right to defend their interests in the federal judiciary on an issue that will directly affect thousands of sportsmen and women across the country.”
SCI is committed to a “No-Net-Loss” policy, which ensures that the amount of federal land for hunting and fishing stays constant or increases but is not diminished by any action, federal or otherwise. SCI will continue to fight for responsible and sustainable wildlife management and will always be First for Hunters.