Monday, November 16, 2009

Maine Trappers Win, Other States Trap Legislation

U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance Foundation
801 Kingsmill Parkway, Columbus, OH  43229
Ph. 614/888-4868 • Fax 614/888-0326
Website: www.ussportsmen.org • E-mail: info@ussportsmen.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                  November 11, 2009                                                                     Sharon Hayden (614) 888-4868 x 226

Maine Trappers Win Major Court Victory

(Columbus, Ohio) – Trappers in Maine won a major victory as the state's Federal District Court upheld the state's trapping practices and blocked the establishment of a precedent that could be used by anti-hunting and anti-trapping groups nationwide. 

In 2008, the Animal Welfare Institute and the Wildlife Alliance of Maine filed a lawsuit against the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (DIFW) seeking a permanent injunction that would have essentially prohibited trapping in the state.  The lawsuit claimed that Maine's trapping regulations violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA) because Canada lynx, a threatened species under the ESA, could be incidentally caught in traps causing "irreparable harm" to the population. 

Throughout the case, the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance Foundation (USSAF), along with the Maine Trappers' Association, Fur Takers of America, National Trappers' Association, and several individual sportsmen, argued that the anti-trapping plaintiffs had to show that Maine's trapping practices were a threat to the Canada lynx population as a whole.  The plaintiffs insisted that harm to one individual lynx was sufficient for the Court to prohibit trapping in the state. 

On November 10th, Federal District Court Judge John A. Woodcock, Jr. ruled that Maine's trapping practices did not irreparably harm the Canada lynx and denied the injunction sought by the anti-trappers.  Further, the Judge agreed with the state and the USSAF that "irreparable harm" is harm to a species as a whole and not simply one individual member.   

"Although the plaintiffs may appeal the ruling, the Federal Court's decision is a monumental victory for the trappers in Maine and sets an excellent precedent that will make it harder for the antis to misuse the ESA in their attempts to ban hunting and trapping in other states," states USSAF Vice President for Government Affairs Rob Sexton. 

"We knew the evidence was on our side and are thrilled with outcome," said Skip Trask, executive director of the Maine Trappers Association.  "The USSAF's legal assistance was invaluable to the favorable outcome."

Chick Andres, President of the Fur Takers of America commented, "Trappers nationwide should be grateful that the court saw through what the anti's were trying to do."

In 2008 the USSAF's legal arm, the U.S. Sportsmen's Legal Defense Fund, was granted permission to intervene in the lawsuit.  The case came on the heels of similar case, also in Maine, that was settled in late 2007 when the DIFW agreed to restrict trap sizes in areas where Canada lynx exist.

The U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance Foundation protects and defends America's wildlife conservation programs and the pursuits – hunting, fishing and trapping – that generate the money to pay for them.  The U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance Foundation is responsible for public education, legal defense and research.  Its mission is accomplished through several distinct programs coordinated to provide the most complete defense capability possible. For more information about the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance Foundation and its work, call (614) 888-4868 or visit its website, www.ussafoundation.org.

Montana Trappers Under Fire

Anti-Trapping Group Pushing 2010 Ballot Issue to Outlaw Trapping on Public Land  6/24/09 

Montana trappers are gearing up for a fight in the wake of efforts by an anti-trapping group to eliminate trapping on public land in the state.
A group called Footloose Montana is working to place an issue on the ballot in 2010 that will outlaw all trapping on public land.  The U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance has already begun contacting other organizations to see how we may coordinate to help oppose it.  Those groups include the Montana Trappers Association, the National Trappers Association, and Fur Takers of America.
Though the issue still has a ways to go before making its way onto the ballot, Footloose Montana is actively seeking grassroots supporters and gathering the signatures necessary for it to qualify.
"This initiative sets a terrible precedent," states USSA president and CEO Bud Pidgeon.  "State wildlife managers support trapping and recognize its importance in managing furbearing populations for the benefit of all wildlife as well as protecting the public from outbreaks of diseases.  USSA will work with other in the hunting community to defeat this anti-hunting attack."
NH Anti-Trapping Bill: A Trapping bill has been introduced in N.H. The bill reads LSR2093 Prohibiting the possession or sale of raw skins or carcasses of fur bearing animals. This bill was introduced by Rep Steve Vaillancourt. He introduced a bill in 2007 to prohibit leghold and conibear traps. We Beat him unanimously in 2007 with a strong showing at the hearing and a strong campaign to call all our legislators. We targeted the Fish and Game and Marine Resources Committee which heard the bill first. They voted 18-0 to send the bill inexpedient to legislate. Sportsmen are going with the same strategy this year. We expect this bill will be heard in committee in Jan or Feb, 2010. The text on this bill is not yet available.
MA Pro-Trapping Bill: In July House Bill 736 made it over the first BIG HURDLE it made it out of committee, FAVORABLY. This is the first time for a very long time a significant trapping bill has made it out of the Joint Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture, and can help put Massachusetts back on track to responsible wildlife management using the most effective, efficient devices available, with the welfare of the animal as a high priority. This bill will allow the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MDFW) to regulate and allow for use during the established furbearer harvest seasons certain live restraint and "quick kill' devices that adhere to internationally developed "Best Management Practices (BMPs).  These BMPs have been developed through a scientific process involving years of field and laboratory testing under the auspices of the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies (AFWA).The Original bill HB736 "Protecting our Natural Resources" (NOW HB4172), currently in the House Ways and Means Committee, has been amended to a point where it will not effectively, proactively address beaver, fox or coyote population management and aid in the reduction, or provide a timely proper reaction to wildlife attack. The amended bill is a simply a bureaucratic nightmare and continuation of unreasonable restrictions. Herb Bergquist resides in Shelburne, MA and is president of a new conservation organization here in Massachusetts called the "Committee for Responsible Wildlife Management". As a group, we are extremely concerned about the rising incidence of animal/human conflicts and attacks going on across the Commonwealth.   Ever since 1996, when the Question One Ballot Initiative took away the ability to proactively manage our wildlife populations using the most effective devices available; beaver, coyote, fox and raccoon populations have increased dramatically... creating the foundation for much of the issues we are seeing today. The bottom line is that the current trapping laws are excessively restrictive and do not allow for the use of the most advanced, effective, and safe devices by licensed and trained individuals. CCS urges ALL MA sportsmen to visit this website and communicate with legislators in support of the original bill.  

Local Sportsmen Representative Needed to Help the Fight           11/4/09

The U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance (USSA) fights daily for your rights to enjoy the outdoors.  Of course, we can't and have not accomplished this alone.  We have been blessed with a legion of volunteers who have stepped to the plate to fight for their rights.  As the threats to our heritage mount, so is our need for help.
That is why we are looking for new field volunteers to represent us at the local level. These volunteers are called Local Field Directors (LFD) and experience is not needed, just a strong desire to represent the outdoor lifestyle. 
LFDs work to promote the USSA in their local areas and states. Beyond getting their expenses covered and a small stipend, LFDs represent the front line in our fights and in our efforts to bring new sportsmen into the field.  They conduct club visits, help to rally sportsmen when major issues come up, work booths at local shows and fairs and assist with other local USSA projects. 
The LFD program also plays a key role in the coordination of Trailblazer Adventure Day programs around the country. Trailblazer has introduced over 900,000 youth and their families to an outdoor lifestyle of shooting, hunting, fishing and trapping since launching in 2001.
LFDs who meet criteria will be invited to a national training meeting to be held in early 2010.
If you want to get on the front lines to promote and defend our heritage, The USSA needs YOUR help.  For more information, contact Frank Price at fprice@ussportsmen.org or call 614-888-4868 x 202.
Help keep America's Outdoor Heritage alive!

 


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