Monday, April 11, 2011

Congress To Authorize Wolf Hunts...

The following just came in from Don Peay, the founder of Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, in regards to Congressional legislation that could result in wolf control (a.k.a. "management") hunts in Idaho and Montana as early as late this month.

LOBO WATCH will have a release out on this tomorrow...and who to contact to push for those control/management hunts to get wolf numbers down before calf elk begin hitting the ground.

Get up to date on the wolf issue...Go To...

Toby Bridges

"Fellow Sportsmen,

I am writing with a very important update on wolf delisting. Recent developments have added to what was already a very complex and dynamic situation. Hopefully, this email will help clarify the situation and what we can do as sportsmen to help wolf delisting move forward in Congress.

All indications are that the Long Term Continuing Resolution to Fund the Government for the Rest of the year will contain wolf delisting provisions for some states, but not others. Specifically, the 2009 Northern Rocky Mountain Distinct Population Segment Delisting Rule would be given the full force and effect of law. Additionally, part of the Congressional language would specifically precludes the ability of anyone to litigate the decision. So, wolf hunts, per state fish and game agency direction in Montana and Idaho can begin this year, potentially as early as this spring.

As many of you are aware, this language is far from perfect. So, here is what we believe it means to the overall wolf delisting effort:

1. All of Idaho, Montana and parts of eastern Oregon and Washington and a small part of northern Utah will remove wolves from ESA protection, and states will be allowed to manage wolves according to state management plans. This is potentially a very positive development, especially for Idaho and Montana.

2. nfortunately, the entire state of Wyoming, the majority of Utah, Colorado, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Arizona, New Mexico and other states were not included. In fact, this action by Congress to codify the language of the 2009 delisting rule may be interpreted to reverse some of the important ground gained by Wyoming in support of dual management status and other aspects of their wolf management plan. This is a very concerning development which reinforces the need for further Congressional action to finish what we started.

3. Big Game Forever has already started the process to get the REST of the wolf states, including the Upper Midwest, and all of Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska delisted as well in the next few months, in Congress. We are not done and we must ask Senator Tester, Senator Baucus and Congressman Simpson to help us finish the fight.

This is our understanding on process of how this wolf delisting bill will be passed into law. The wolf delisting language is being printed into the Continuing Resolution to fund the government on Monday, it will be voted on in the house on Wednesday, the Senate on Thursday, and President Obama will sign it into law on Friday. States should be able to immediately begin to manage wolves, just as they were, prior to the Malloy Decision to stop wolf hunts. This bill stops short of returning full state management authority back to these states, including Idaho and Montana. So USFWS remains in a supervisory role. But, if USFWS does not interfere and allows the states do their job, a wide variety of wolf management activities can be resumed by these states. We are hopeful this is a step in the right direction.

Interestingly, on Saturday (two days ago), Judge Malloy rejected the settlement brokered with the Animal Rights groups. These group had decided to drop the law suit against wolf hunts in Montana and Idaho – they wanted to settle so Congress would not act. To be clear, without the pressure in Congress built by our cosponsors, sportsmen, SFW and BGF, this proposed settlement would not have happened. This decision by Malloy to reject the settlement just proves once again, Judges cannot be allowed to decide issues about wolf management, they won’t even agree with the ENEMY, when the ENEMY is ready to surrender.

So, this Congressional Action is a GREAT Victory, and at the same time, it is a Great defeat if we allow this to be the end of the road.

The Great Victory is that just over one year ago, when other groups and experts said (1) Congress would not touch wolf delisting; and (2) the only solution was to fight it out in Court. SFW and BGF said Congressional action was the clearest path to restoring the rights of states to manage. Some very dedicated folks believed we could win in Congress if we changed the game. Randy and Coni Brooks stepped up with a $100,000 donation and Big Game Forever was formed. Increasingly, people began to believe. Independently, a Great American Sportsmen, Texas trial Attorney Ted Lyon, who owns a ranch in Montana, and was disgusted to watch wolves destroy elk herds in his back yard, independently began legal work on drafting what would become HR. 509 and S. 249. In Mid September, Mr. Lyon and BGF went to DC and began to obtain significant Congressional support to move wolf delisting legislation forward. Over 10,000 wolf warriors joined the effort at Big Game Forever to do what was said couldn’t be done. These wolf warriors not only joined the effort, they have worked week after week to make by making phone calls, sending emails and spreading the word on the need for Congressional action. Other groups have joined the effort and worked with us to make wolf delisting a reality.

It has not been an easy road. Even as late as last September, many in the hunting industry said BGF was foolish to think wolf delisting could occur in a Continuing Resolution (CR).

After meetings with Senate Leader Reid, and strong leadership by Senator Hatch, Barrasso, Kyle, McCain, and Congressman Matheson, Ross, Rehberg and others, an incredible amount of progress was made to educate Congress about the destruction of jobs, wildlife herds, rural economies. The case was made and it became clear that CONGRESS was ready to Act to save elk, moose, deer and other wildlife from further delays in delisting. We knew Congressional Action could be achieved, it would just be an incredibly hard and intense fight, requiring strong grass roots support in many states.

So, now the animal rights community and some radical environmental groups want to stop any wolf delisting form occuring. While the bill is not perfect, and in fact has some clear problems, it does clearly set a precedent for Congressional action to delist wolves. This precedent can be helpful to other states who need delisting, including Wyoming, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Arizona, New Mexico and states like Utah, Nevada, Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Iowa who do not want the destruction to spread to their states. We suggest that for wolf delisting to move forward for all states, we need to counter the efforts of the these anti-hunting groups to kill this bill. We need to thank Senators Tester and Baucus of Montana for Sponsoring this legislation, and for Congressman Simpson for finding a way to get something done. Congresswoman Lumis of Wyoming tried to amend the bill and include Wyoming after the Judge Johnson decision, but house rules are peculiar, and after the cake had been cooked, it couldn’t be changed. So let’s thank Senate President, Leader Reid, Tester, Baucus and Simpson and ask them to join the 60 cosponsors who have already said they will fight for delisting for all states and all Americans.

It will also be important to drop some emails, make some phone calls this week, into the Whitehouse. There are some indicators that Obama will sign the bill. Tester and Baucus were in the press yesterday saying the Democratic Senators and Obama had agreed to put this languate in the hotly debated CR. This was agreed to in principle late Friday night.

The great defeat is that all the other wolf states were left out of this language. And here are some reasons for that:

ON Feb. 16, at the BGF sponsored DC event in the US Capitol, Senator Risch’s Chief of staff came with a DRAFT bill they said they had Democratic Support included all of Utah and all of Wyoming.

After that meeting, sportsmen groups in Michigan, MN and Wisconsin began to engage to get their states delisted as well.

Tremendous support for and All state delisting HR 509 and S. 249 was growing, and looking to become a reality, so opponents to wolf delisting, including the USFWS, Animal Rights groups, and some Democratic Senators who had been completely opposed to any Congressional Action on wolf delisting said, “We have got to do something or this issue will run us over.”

Unfortunately, some hunting groups decided to work toward accepting an easier two state deal, instead of taking a four state deal, or even fighting for a better deal. As I said earlier, now the cake has been baked and this will be the incremental victory for now. So we all need to work this week to make sure this important precedent is established that shows that Congress must act to delist wolves, even if just for a few states. If we can win this incremental victory, we must then all work to finish the job. There will be those who will try to use this two state deal to end further delisting in the Midwest and West. We know that this incremental step is not good enough for ranchers, for sportsmen and for America in the long run. We must return the full rights of all states to manage wolves and all wildlife without strings attached. Our commitment is to keep up the fight to stop the destruction, restore balance and begin recovering wildlife populations for all of America.

Some very powerful groups have made this solid commitment to keep up the fight and work with us until it is done. We have requested meetings with some of the other groups to put the divisiveness behind us and hopefully, we can move forward in the future, together to solve this wolf issue, for all states, for all sportsmen, with all groups working together.

Great Victory, lets go finish the job to return full state management of all wolves, in every state to State Fish and Game Agencies and remove the Federal Government from State wildlife management.

BGF is rapidly growing membership and endorsements and respect amongst Congressional Leaders. We will not rest until we have achieved Victory and stopped the efforts by animal rights groups to (1) destroy the future of responsible management; and (2) destroy what sportsmen have invested billions to restore."

When sending this to the newly formed Montana Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, which is just now turning 1-year old, Don Peay added...

"Congratulations MONTANA SFW. Clearly your efforts have FORCED the agenda. I hope you will now do two things

1. Start Engaging MT FWP to have a wolf hunt starting on NEXT Monday

2. Stick with Rehberg, and encourage Tester and Baucus and continue to help BGF and SFW fix the rest of the country.

You guys efforts have born real fruit for Montana. Should be signed into law by Friday."

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