SCI Fights Back Against Attack on Hunters and Anglers

Safari Club International, the National Rifle Association, and the Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation are seeking to defend expanded hunting and fishing access on National Wildlife Refuges against a lawsuit by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD).  CBD’s suit challenges a 2020 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) rule expanding hunting and fishing access on millions of acres. CBD attacks this expansion and the rights of hunters and anglers to use lead ammunition and tackle, among other things.  CBD’s arguments stand in direct opposition to multiple use practices and proven conservation principles. Defending the freedom to hunt is a critical component of SCI’s fight for No-Net-Loss of hunting and fishing access across the country. 

The 2020 Hunt Fish rule expanded hunting and fishing access on 2.3 million acres of wildlife refuges and fish hatcheries.  The rule opened new species, acres, methods of harvest, and season dates and times. CBD  alleges that the USFWS violated the Administrative Procedure Act when it opened these new hunting and fishing opportunities without adequate consultation regarding the effects on endangered and threatened species. Specifically, CBD alleges that the new hunting opportunities open the door for inadvertent killing of endangered species (through mistake, vehicle collisions, or habitat disruption). CBD also alleges damage to listed species from exposure to lead ammunition and fishing tackle, and claims the USFWS did not fully evaluate the impact of lead under the National Environmental Policy Act.  

These allegations couldn’t be further from the truth. As SCI explained in lengthy comments in support of the rule, the USFWS fully evaluated the expansion of access.  CBD’s concerns over lead ammunition and tackle were addressed.  The USFWS continued to allow use of lead ammunition in some situations because banning lead ammunition will create higher barriers to entry and decrease participation by hunters, which will have immediate and detrimental effects on wildlife conservation. Reduced hunting participation means fewer licenses sold and reduced tax revenues from firearms and ammunition purchases – revenue which goes directly to conservation efforts. 

SCI CEO W. Laird Hamberlin stated, “Safari Club International is fighting back against the Center for Biological Diversity’s attack on hunters, in the courts and in our advocacy efforts. Hunters and non-hunters alike must understand how this case threatens both our freedom to hunt and proven conservation strategies across the country. Just as SCI is First for Hunters, hunters are first for conservation. CBD’s attempt to ban expanded hunting and fishing access will harm, not save, the wildlife and habitat it claims to protect.”

SCI will always defend your freedom to hunt, but we need your help. Join us in standing for hunting access across the country by signing our No-Net-Loss petition today!

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