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Courts Become Battleground for Sportsmen’s Rights

by Tim Daniel

The animal rights movement often tries to use the courts to advance its anti-hunting agenda. Recently, it has launched a barrage of lawsuits against government wildlife management and natural resource agencies to stop or affect hunting on public lands – including National Wildlife Refuges, National Forests and Bureau of Land Management lands. Sportsmen rely on U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation’s Sportsmen’s Legal Defense Fund (SLDF) to meet the threat head on.

The SLDF is the nation’s only litigation force that exclusively represents sportsmen’s interests in the courts. It brings actions to defend wildlife management and sportsmen’s rights in local, state and federal courts. The SLDF represents the interests of sportsmen and assists government lawyers who have little or no background in wildlife law. Through this action, the SLDF preserves the local freedom and protection for all sportsmen and women.

Photo by: Tim Daniel
See You in Court
The anti-hunting movement has tripled its legal assaults on hunting in the last decade. The SLDF has ultimately prevailed in every court case it has been involved in. It ensures that the anti’s don’t litigate what they can’t legislate – the end to hunting.

Recently, a federal judge in Massachusetts rejected a request by anti-hunters for a temporary injunction against pheasant hunting at the Cape Cod National Seashore.

In early October, animal rights groups brought a lawsuit demanding an end to pheasant hunting on Cape Cod National Seashore. They asked for a temporary restraining order to stop this season’s hunt immediately. United States District Court Judge Patti Saris rejected the anti’s request. Despite objections from anti-hunting plaintiffs, she granted the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation permission to become a defendant intervener in the case.

Anti-hunting plaintiffs are the Humane Society of the United States, Fund for Animals and Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The long-term prognosis of the hunt is unclear. A National Park Service spokesman waffled on the issue in news reports and the court has yet to hear the full case.

The potential implications of the lawsuit go far beyond the state of Massachusetts and pheasant hunting. It could impact hunting, fishing and wildlife management for an array of species introduced in areas or states where they were not historically found. This includes species such as rainbow trout, brown trout, elk and wild turkey.

The anti’s claim that release and hunting of pheasants endangers habitat for various species at Cape Cod and endangers non-hunters. The suit also claims that pheasants are exotic animals and should not be released.

The anti-hunters singled out pheasants because they are not native to the United States. However, pheasants were introduced in the U.S. over 120 years ago (1881), and are now found in the wild in 39 states and six Canadian provinces. It is the South Dakota state bird.
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