Sportsmen Win Maine Court Case Protecting Trapping

Sportsmen Win Maine Court Case Protecting Trapping
Decision Sets Precedent also Protecting Hunting and Fishing.

U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance
U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance

Columbus, Ohio – -( Sportsmen won a major victory on November 10 as Maine’s Federal District Court blocked an effort by anti’s to misuse the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to stop hunting, fishing, and trapping.

In 2008, the Animal Welfare Institute and the Wildlife Alliance of Maine filed a lawsuit against the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife seeking a permanent injunction to stop trapping in the state. The anti’s claimed that Maine’s trapping regulations provided insufficient protection to the Canada lynx, a species listed as threatened under the ESA. They argued that the accidental taking of a single animal was enough to justify the closing of the state’s trapping season.

If successful, it would have established a precedent that could block hunting, fishing and trapping should a single protected animal be captured or killed.

Throughout the case, the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation (USSAF), along with the Maine Trappers’ Association, Fur Takers of America, National Trappers’ Association, and several individual sportsmen, argued that the anti’s had to show that Maine’s trapping practices were a threat to the entire Canada lynx population.

In the decision, Judge John A. Woodcock, Jr. denied the injunction sought by the anti’s. Further, he upheld the idea that a season could not be blocked due to individual incidents that did not threaten the entire protected species.

“The Court’s decision is a monumental victory for the trappers in Maine,” said Rob Sexton, USSAF vice president for government affairs. “It sets an excellent precedent that will make it harder for the antis to misuse the ESA in their attempts to ban hunting and trapping in other states.”

“We knew the evidence was on our side and are thrilled with the outcome,” said Skip Trask, Maine Trappers Association executive director. “The USSAF’s legal assistance was invaluable to the favorable outcome.”

“Trappers nationwide should be grateful that the court saw through what the anti’s were trying to do,” said Chick Andres, Fur Takers of America president.

In 2008 the USSAF’s legal arm, the U.S. Sportsmen’s Legal Defense Fund, was granted permission to intervene in the lawsuit. The case came on the heels of similar case, also in Maine, that was settled in late 2007 when the DIFW agreed to restrict trap sizes in areas where Canada lynx exist.

The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation protects and defends America’s wildlife conservation programs and the pursuits – hunting, fishing and trapping – that generate the money to pay for them. The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation is responsible for public education, legal defense and research. Its mission is accomplished through several distinct programs coordinated to provide the most complete defense capability possible. For more information about the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation and its work, call (614) 888-4868 or visit its website,

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