The Wheels Of Justice Grind Slowly

Safari Club International is fighting for the right to hunt on many fronts – on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.; in state capitals around the country; in the international arena; through the bureaucracy at all levels of government; and in courtrooms across America.


Some of the battles arise, are fought and over within a matter of weeks. Others, as in the case of federal legislation, may last the entire two-year session of Congress. Legal battles can drag on for years, taking the talents, time and energy of SCI’s expert legal team.

One case study is the recent ruling of the Ninth Circuit Court in the case of Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) versus the U.S. Forest Service. SCI received the ruling this past May. The case has been in the courts for seven years, originally filed by CBD in 2012.

Simply put, this is a case in which anti-hunting groups challenged the U. S. Forest Service for allowing use of lead ammunition for hunting in the Kaibab National Forest.  The groups asserted violations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and it is generally referred to as “the RCRA Case.”

The plaintiffs filed suit in Arizona federal district court alleging that the California condor and other scavenger wildlife species living in the Kaibab National Forest ingest lead ammunition left in animal carcasses by hunters and that this causes lead poisoning.  Plaintiffs want the court to permanently prevent the Forest Service from “creating or contributing to the creation of an imminent and substantial endangerment to human health or the environment” in the Kaibab National Forest.

The case has bounced back and forth from the district court to the Ninth Circuit.  The district court dismissed the case once and the plaintiffs appealed.  The Ninth Circuit reversed the dismissal and sent the case back to the district court.  The district court dismissed for a second time for different reasons from the first and the Ninth Circuit reversed again.  The case is now heading back to the Arizona federal district court for the third round. 

SCI, along with the National Rifle Association, has been granted intervention and will be submitting briefs in district court in support of the Forest Service and in opposition to the application of RCRA to the use of lead ammunition.  It is safe to say that, whatever the outcome, this case will be appealed and will again go to the Ninth Circuit and will be in the courts for a long time.

These are just a few of the many examples of the long-term fight SCI is in to defend the rights of America’s hunters.



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