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PostPosted: 26 Feb 2007, 16:58 
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HATCHET MAN
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Location: The Withers of Wisconsin
USSAF Will Defend Sportsmen in Legal Fight to Ban Trapping- (02/26/07)

A federal judge will allow the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation to represent the nation’s sportsmen in a precedent-setting lawsuit brought by anti’s to end trapping in Maine. The legal challenge is meant to derail hunting, fishing and trapping wherever endangered or threatened species exist.

On Feb. 23, U.S. District Judge John A. Woodcock Jr. granted the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation (USSAF) and its U.S. Sportsmen’s Legal Defense Fund (U.S. SLDF) permission to join the suit, which was brought by the Animal Protection Institute. The anti’s are suing the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to expand endangered and threatened species protections to healthy and abundant wildlife populations.

“In light of a Minnesota U.S. District Court’s ruling on a similar case just weeks ago, we feel good that trapping has a strong chance of prevailing,” said Rob Sexton, U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation vice president for government affairs. “The real danger for sportsmen all over the country is that the taking of any species – by hunting or fishing as well as trapping -- could be stopped if a threatened or endangered species is determined to be in the area.”

At issue is the anti’s legal argument that trapping of any species should be banned to prevent the inadvertent catch of federally protected Canada lynx, bald eagles and gray wolves. There is no data proving this to be a problem.

The lawsuit represents more than a strike against trapping. If anti’s can stop trapping in a place where there is a risk of catching these federally protected animals, they can just as easily try to stop fishing where there is a risk of catching an endangered species of sturgeon.

The lawsuit also treads on states’ authority to manage wildlife. An unfavorable decision would virtually require judges to close hunting, fishing and trapping.

As the case develops, the USSAF continues to defend sportsmen’s rights in a similar lawsuit brought by API against the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). On Feb. 1, an earlier suit against the DNR was settled and trapping preserved. The U.S. Sportsmen’s Legal Defense Fund had been party to that case, as well.

The USSAF joins the Maine suit, along with the Fur Takers of America, National Trappers Association, Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, Maine Trappers Association, and individual sportsmen Oscar Cronk, Donald Dudley and Alvin Theriault.

The U.S. Sportsmen’s Legal Defense Fund is the nation’s only litigation force that exclusively represents sportsmen’s interests in the courts. It defends wildlife management and sportsmen’s rights in local, state and federal courts. The U.S. SLDF represents the interests of sportsmen and assists government lawyers who have little or no background in wildlife law.

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Molon Labe.


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