A Tale of Two Wolf Hearings – Big Game Forever After Action Report

Big Game Forever
A Tale of Two Wolf Hearings – Big Game Forever After Action Report
Big Game Forever
Big Game Forever

Western USA – -(Ammoland.com)- Last night’s wolf hearing in Albuquerque and Tuesday night’s wolf hearing in Denver could not have been more different.

The Denver wolf hearing was dominated by animal rights activists. The Albuquerque meeting was dominated by ranchers, hunters, county officials, conservation districts. Big Game Forever was well represented at both hearings.

Reminder on Upcoming Hearings
A quick reminder: The final wolf-delisting hearings will be held in Sacramento California tonight and Pinetop Arizona on December 3rd. More information on these hearings can be found at: http://www.fws.gov/home/wolfrecovery/

Denver Wolf-Delisting Hearing
To use a sports analogy, the Denver hearing had the feeling of an away game. This was not a huge surprise given the urban setting for the hearing. 38 Colorado chapters of Big Game Forever provided written testimony for the Denver hearing. Each of these letters had between 5 and 50 signatures from Big Game Forever chapter representatives. BGF’s written testimony ended up being very important. Many sportsmen and livestock producers in attendance were not able to testify orally because of limited slots for oral testimony.

A pro-wolf rally held outside the theater 3 hours before the hearing meant that wolf activists stacked the deck when it came to speaking slots. Most of the oral testimony focused on highly emotional animal rights rhetoric.   “Stop the slaughter” of wolves in the Northern Rockies was the predominant theme.   Another theme was “we need wolves in Rocky Mountain National Park.” Written testimony from Big Game Forever chapters was critically important to show the wide spread support for wolf-delisting in Colorado. This written testimony is treated equally with oral testimony for the hearing record.   A huge “thank you” to Colorado Big Game Forever supporters for your tremendous leadership in providing the chapter letters and signatures for the hearing. Thank you to each of you who took the time to travel to and attend the hearing in person.

New Mexico Hearing
The hearing in Albuquerque was much different from the hearing in Denver. The vast majority of testimony was in support of responsible wolf management. Many of you showed up 2 hours early to ensure you would have a chance to testify. Most of the testimony expressed concern about the effort to move the goal posts on longstanding delisting objectives. Several activists suggested that the service should replace the current wolf mandate of 100 wolves with a new mandate a 750-wolf minimum number with requirements for recovery in at least 3 separate population areas. This is more than double the recovery mandates for wolves in the Northern Rockies. These advocates also lobbied for Mexican Wolf mandates in Southern Colorado and Southern Utah, despite the fact that these areas lie outside of historic Mexican Wolf range.

In the hearing, USFWS made it clear that it may attempt to mandate Mexican Wolves in areas outside of historic wolf habitat, including the Arizona Strip and Northern New Mexico. Many Ranchers expressed concern that the new wolf expansion plans essentially renege on past commitments from federal officials. Several elected officials pointed out that new wolf boundaries would require Mexican wolves in areas inhabited by the Prairie Chicken and Sand Lizards. This is important due to the fact that these are Prarrie Chicken and Sand Lizards are species of conservation concern that have been suggested for endangered species act listings.

Again, thank you to all of the Big Game Forever members who took the time to attend the New Mexico hearing. Your testimony and support made a huge difference at the hearing.

Lesson Learned on Making our Voice Heard at Hearings

Lessons learned from these hearing include:

  • (1) Sportsmen and Livestock need to show-up! Numbers and attendance make all of the difference in these public hearings;
  • (2) Arrive early to ensure that sportsmen and livestock producers testify in the hearings; and
  • (3) Prepare a written statement. It is treated equally with oral testimony. If you don’t have a chance to testify, your written statement is still treated as testimony for the hearing.

Here is the information for tonight’s hearing and the Dec. 3rd 2013 hearing.

Sacramento

  • When: Tomorrow, November 22, 2013, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
  • Where: Marriot Courtyard Sacramento Cal Expo, Golden State Ballroom, 1782 Tribute Road, Sacramento, CA 95815; (916) 929–7900.

Arizona

  • When: December 3, 2013, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
  • Where: Hon-Dah Conference Center, 777 Highway 260, Pinetop, AZ 85935 (3 miles outside of Pinetop at the Junction of Hwy 260 and Hwy 73); (928) 369–7625.

Thank you for your ongoing efforts to protect America’s wildlife!

About Big Game Forever
The founders of Big Game Forever include leading wildlife conservation groups and Sportsmen from across North America. American Sportsmen invest $1.5 billion annually for habitat, wildlife conservation and sensitive species. That is nearly 10 times the amount invested by the non-sportsmen taxpayer. We are the original conservationists! Sadly, anti-sportsmen special interest groups want to argue that sportsmen are the enemy of conservation. By joining our effort at Big Game Forever, you can ensure that uncontrolled wolf expansion does not erase decades of effort and billions invested in healthy wildlife populations. Your involvement supports high level political and legal changes needed to protect healthy big game herds now and in the future. Visit : www.biggameforever.org