The Wyoming Outfitters and Guides Association (WYOGA), Jackson Hole Outfitters and Guides Association (JHOGA), Sublette County Outfitters and Guides Association (SCOGA) and Safari Club International (SCI) jointly intervened in a case in which anti-hunting groups are challenging the U.S. Forest Service’s (Service) approval of supplemental winter feeding of elk on National Forest System lands in Wyoming.
The federal district court in Wyoming granted the Hunting Coalition’s motion to intervene, despite the anti-hunting groups’ request that the Coalition’s participation be limited.
The petitioners—including Sierra Club and Western Watersheds Project—want the Service to stop the winter supplemental feeding. Animal rights groups have sued to stop the feeding several times before, alleging that the concentration of elk on feed grounds increases the risk of disease transmission, including a recent concern that supplemental winter feeding would increase the risk of Chronic Wasting Disease transmission. In a different, ongoing case, the Coalition (except SCOGA) intervened to defend supplemental elk feeding authorized by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on the National Elk Refuge.
Feeding on National Forest System lands and state feed grounds has occurred for more than 100 years. Without the supplemental feeding, many elk would starve.
The intervention of WYOGA, JHOGA, SCOGA and SCI is step-one in the litigation process. Parties will eventually file briefs and likely participate in a hearing to resolve the merits of the case.
Wyoming’s elk herds provide high-quality hunting opportunities for hunters, and outfitters in Wyoming depend on those hunts for their clients.
WYOGA, JHOGA, and SCOGA are represented by attorneys from the Falen Law Offices, LLC. SCI is represented by in-house counsel.
Safari Club has a long history of involvement on the ground in Wyoming, with a recent article highlighting conservation, education, and advocacy issues that SCI and SCIF are currently engaged in.