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The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance - A Tradition of Serving Sportsmenby Tim Daniel
The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance and the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation, formerly the Wildlife Legislative Fund of America and Wildlife Conservation Fund of America, have been dedicated to uniting sportsmen to defend against legal and legislative attacks by the animal rights movement for nearly a quarter century. This rich history includes numerous victories on behalf of our nation’s sportsmen and wildlife professionals.
In the Beginning
The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance and the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation began working on a national basis in 1978.
The organizations were formed in response to a landmark Ohio ballot issue in 1977 that proposed a constitutional amendment to ban all trapping in the state. The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation and sportsmen across the state, worked to defeat the issue.
The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance and its Foundation have been working ever since to defend hunting, fishing, trapping and scientific wildlife management against lawsuits, legislation and ballot issues initiated by anti-hunters.
A Quarter Century of Service to Sportsmen
Since that first Ohio ballot issue, the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance and its Foundation have not stopped working to protect sportsmen’s rights. Highlighted is a sampling of issues in which the organizations have played critical roles:
In 1980, the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, with the assistance of the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation legal counsel and researchers, defeated voter issues in Oregon and South Dakota to ban trapping and dove hunting. The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance raised a majority of the campaign funds, produced the winning advertising campaigns and helped organize sportsmen for these victories.
In 1982, the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance won a series of common sense amendments to the federal Endangered Species Act. The amendments removed anti-sportsman bias from the act and greatly reduced chances it could be used as a legal club to knock out hunting, fishing and trapping due to political pressure by the opponents of these sports.
When the voters of Maine, in 1983, were asked to decide an issue to ban moose hunting, the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance was there to prepare the strategic campaign plan, produce powerful campaign materials and mount the influential media campaign necessary to win. Voters turned back the issue by a 2-1 margin of victory for sportsmen.
In 1986, the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation introduced its renowned public education campaign, Protect What’s Right. The program has been provided to hundreds of sportsmen’s conservation organizations, coast to coast. It offers a series of educational materials designed to unite sportsmen for their own defense and for the conservation education of the American public.
In 1988, a three-year campaign begun by the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance and U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation resulted in the bolstering of the professionalism and defined a clear mission for the law enforcement of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Service’s ability to protect the nation’s wildlife resources was greatly improved.
Arizona voters rejected a 1992 initiative that would have resulted in the end of hunting, fishing and trapping in the state. The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance was called into action and produced the campaign plan, raised nearly half the campaign budget, oversaw production of the mass media campaign and waged a successful media relations effort to soundly defeat the issue.
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