Blog Readers: Safari Club International is a TREMENDOUS organization that FIGHTS for your right to hunt around the world. I suggest all hunters of any species to join ASAP. They have a tremendous quarterly magazine and hold one of the greatest hunting conventions in the world every year. Their team of lawyers are the BEST. Right now they are waging two big fights in Wyoming - Park Elk Hunting and Wolf Delisting (see articles in the last two posts). Anti-hunters quake in fear when they see SCI entering any political or court room battle! Let's keep the heat on the antis! Join SCI today! - Scott
Current Litigation - Cases That Will Affect Hunting Internationally
SCI is currently involved or has recently been involved in the following cases as of December, 2014:
Elephant Importation Ban Challenge (SCI v. Jewell et al.) – Challenge to the FWS’s decision to suspend the importation of sport hunted elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Tanzania in 2014. Status: SCI filed suit in April 2014, within weeks of the announcement of the bans and shortly thereafter filed a motion for a preliminary injunction. The District Court denied SCI’s motion for a preliminary injunction (PI) and SCI immediately appealed that ruling. To avoid delays in the progress of our case in the District Court, SCI voluntarily dismissed the appeal and is pursuing the underlying challenge to the bans in their entirety. The District Court scheduled a hearing on several outstanding motions for mid-November.
California’s Ban on Importation of Mountain Lion Trophies (SCI v. Harris) – Challenge to the constitutionality of a California law that bans individuals from possessing or importing trophies of mountain lions hunted outside of California. SCI claims that the California law violates the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce and Equal Protection Clauses. Status: SCI filed suit on August 6, 2014. State responded with a motion to dismiss. Hearing is scheduled for February 2, 2015.
Wyoming Wolf Delisting Challenges (Defenders of Wildlife v. Jewell; HSUS v. U.S. FWS) – Defense of delisting and hunting of Wyoming portion of the NRM wolf population in D.C. and Wyoming federal courts. SCI is a defendant-intervenor. Status: D.C. Court District court invalidated the rule and returned Wyoming wolves to endangered status. Wyoming adopted emergency regulations that addressed the court’s one main issue of concern. The Court rejected motions from Wyoming, the FWS and SCI/NRA/RMEF requesting that she amend her ruling and allow the wolves to remain delisted and under management by Wyoming. We are currently waiting to see whether Wyoming or the FWS will take any further action in court in this matter, or whether the FWS will need to initiate a completely new delisting rule.
Western Great Lakes Wolf Delisting Challenge (HSUS v. Jewell) – Defense of delisting and hunting of WGL wolf population. Status: SCI, NRA, USSAF and several other organizations intervened. After the parties completed the briefing, the D.C. District Court requested additional briefing on whether she should order the parties to file briefs on the appropriate remedy in the event that she finds some inadequacy or error in the delisting rule. Briefing has been completed and we are awaiting a ruling.
New Mexico Wolves (WildEarth Guardians v. Lane) – Defense of New Mexico officials’ authorization of trapping in Mexican wolf experimental population area. Status: 10th Circuit dismissed for lack of standing. New Mexico is seeking attorneys’ fees from plaintiffs. WEG apparently plans to refile their lawsuit in the future.
Coyote Hunting in Red Wolf Area in North Carolina (Red Wolf Coalition v. NCWRC) – Defense of coyote hunting in recovery zone of nonessential experimental population of red wolves in NC. Status: SCI participated as amicus and opposed plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction to stop coyote hunting in the area. The judge granted the injunction. Coyote hunting is currently not allowed in the red wolf recovery area. The plaintiffs and the state have reached an agreement that will lift the ban on coyote hunting but will require North Carolina to initiate rulemaking to establish several conditions designed to protect red wolves. A hearing is scheduled for November 12, 2014 on the proposed agreement. Separately, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is reviewing whether it should change or abandon its red wolf reintroduction project.
McKittrick Policy (WildEarth Guardians v. DOJ) – Defense of DOJ policy to not pursue criminal prosecution of individuals who accidentally shoot members of federally protected species. Status: DOJ filed a motion to dismiss based on jurisdictional grounds. Briefing on that motion is finished. We are awaiting a ruling. If the Court does not dismiss, SCI will likely move to intervene in the case.
Three Antelope Cases – (FoA v. Jewell et al.) – In the 2014 Appropriations Law, Congress directed the FWS to reissue a 2005 permit exemption rule regarding hunting of three antelope species on ranches in the United States. After the FWS reissued the rule, FoA filed suit to challenge the constitutionality of Congress’s action and the rule. Status: SCI has intervened and filed its first summary judgment brief in support of the law on September 30, 2014. Our final brief is due on November 11, 2014. (SCI v. Jewell et al.) – SCI challenged the FWS’s classification of U.S. captive populations as endangered. Status: Court upheld the legality of the listing. SCI appealed the ruling to the D.C. Circuit Court. Appeal has been stayed on SCI’s request, pending the outcome of the constitutional challenge. (FoA v. Ashe et al.) – Friends of Animals challenged permit process for culling members of captive herds of the three antelope. Status: SCI intervened and supported FWS’s motion to dismiss the case. Briefing has been stayed, also pending the constitutional challenge.
Big Cypress ORV/Wilderness Plan (NPCA et al. v. DOI et al.) Defense of National Preserve (Addition Lands) Management Plan facilitating hunting and ORV use. Status: SCI intervened in case to defend plan. After extensive briefing and an all-day hearing, the Florida federal district court ruled in the NPS and SCI’s favor and upheld the plan. One of the Plaintiff groups, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) moved for reconsideration of the judge’s ruling. Briefing has been completed on that motion and we are awaiting a ruling.
Lead Ammunition Case (CBD v. EPA) – Defense of EPA’s denial of second petition seeking to ban lead in ammunition. Status: EPA and SCI//NRA filed motions to dismiss the case. District Court dismissed after oral argument. CBD appealed. Oral argument was held on October 24th. We are awaiting a ruling.
Lead Ammunition in Kaibab National Forest (CBD v. U.S. Forest Service) – Defense against attempt to ban lead ammunition use in Kaibab National Forest. Status: District Court granted a motion to dismiss filed by the federal government. CBD appealed decision to Ninth Circuit. SCI is participating as an amicus in the appeal. Appellate briefing is complete. Awaiting a ruling or scheduling of oral argument.
Forest Road Closure (County of Shoshone v. U.S. Department of Agriculture) – SCI filed an amicus brief to explain how a road closure in a National Forest would undermine adaptive management practices and prevent hunters from being able to access preferred hunting areas and from retrieving game. Status: Oral argument was held before the Ninth Circuit on October 7, 2014. The Court upheld the Forest Service’s decision and ruled against the County.
SCI has recently submitted comments on the following administrative actions:
FWS Proposed Policy On Voluntary Conservation Actions
Draft Planning Documents for Sam Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge
Draft Planning Documents for National Elk Refuge
Draft Permanent Rule to Adopt Wyoming’s Wolf Management Plan and Addendum as Regulation