Dismissed: HSUS Lawsuit to Silence Maine’s Wildlife Professionals

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

Columbus, OH –-(Ammoland.com)- On Friday, April 3, 2015 Maine Superior Court Justice Joyce Wheeler issued a final judgment in the question of the state’s ability to comment on wildlife issues.

In her ruling, Wheeler sided with the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance and fully dismissed a lawsuit aimed at silencing Maine’s wildlife professionals.

The case started in the closing weeks of the Maine bear campaign over Question 1 on last November’s ballot. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), through their front group Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting, sued the state of Maine alleging an improper level of engagement in the. The “state,” in this case, was the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, whose vocal and public opposition to Question 1 didn't mesh with HSUS’ wish to stop bear hunting in the state.

The original lawsuit sought an injunction that would remove the TV advertisements being aired by the Maine Wildlife Conservation Council that featured department personnel talking about the dangers of Question 1.

“Political campaigns are won and lost on TV, especially in the case of ballot issue campaigns,” said Evan Heusinkveld, USSA Foundation’s vice president of government affairs. “There is no doubt that our opponents saw the wildlife management professionals at the department as a distinct threat to their campaign. In response, they attempted to silence the only true experts—the professional staff at the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.”

On Oct. 22, 2014, Maine Superior Court Justice Joyce Wheeler denied the request for a temporary restraining order by Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting, which sought to remove television commercials opposed to Question 1. In her ruling, Justice Wheeler sided with the right of the state to provide comment. This ruling ensured the TV commercials remained on the air, and just a few days later sportsmen were victorious at the ballot box, defeating Question 1 by a 53-46 margin. Despite the victory on the temporary restraining order and at the ballot box on Nov. 4, the lawsuit remained active.

In light of judge’s decision and with the election over, on Feb. 24 the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife moved to have the case dismissed because of mootness—a move wholeheartedly supported by Maine Wildlife Conservation Council. However, HSUS lawyer Rachel Wertheime countered that the lawsuit was still valid because the organization would be filing paperwork to once again put a bear-hunting ban initiative on the state’s 2016 ballot.

In her ruling today, Justice Wheeler responded to that motion by fully and finally dismissing the case at the Superior Court level, leaving HSUS, and their front group Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting, with few options outside of appeal to the state’s Law (Superior) Court.

“The Superior court already ruled that the state was well within its right to speak out on this issue, and now they have now decided that since the election is over, the case is moot,” said Heusinkveld.  “This ruling just reaffirms our position and is a clear victory for sportsmen and women. There should be no doubt left, the people of Maine deserve to hear from the experts when it comes to these issues.”

About the Maine Wildlife Conservation Council: MWCC was the ballot-question committee set up specifically to defeat Question 1 – the Bear Hunting Ban. In addition to the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, it was comprised of the Maine Professional Guides Association, Maine Trapper’s Association, Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, and many other organizations concerned with managing the state’s wildlife in a responsible manner.

About the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance: The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA) is a 501(c)4 organization and provides direct lobbying and grassroots coalition support to protect and advance the rights of hunters, trappers, anglers and scientific wildlife management professionals.  The USSA is the only organization exclusively devoted to combating the attacks made on America’s sportsman traditions by anti-hunting and animal rights extremists. This is accomplished through coalition building, ballot issue campaigning and legislative and government relations. Stay connected to USSA: Online, Facebook and Twitter.

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Ponds Lakes and Streams by Biologists
Ponds Lakes and Streams by Biologists
5 years ago

BJ

As a Fishery Biologist I find it curious that you are pro-wildlife, yet anti-science. Are you admitting that you believe your group knows more about wildlife biology than the professional Biologists charged with managing the land?

Justin Lance
Justin Lance
5 years ago

Hunting will always be necessary for population control and for the balance of habitat. Bears will certainly come in close to humans and their living areas for food and to defend territory. I can respect the views of others who don’t believe hunting should take place, but it’s just an opinion because you love your “pet” bears that are wild animals. Some species will kill humans and pets. Hunting is very favorable for the environment, and I will continue to hunt along with my children and wounded warriors until the day I die. America.

BJ
BJ
5 years ago

Pretty slanted story. Killing 33, 000 bears a year in this country isn’t enough for you ? Killing living creatures minding their own business in their own habitat is fun? Most bears avoid humans. They have a right to live in the their natural habitat – without being stalked and gunned down. Unfortunately the human species has overrun most of bears’ habitat and now consider it their own. This is the 21st century. We don’t need anymore Davy Crocketts, if if fact we ever did. I get out in the wood a lot with binoculars – to look. I don’t… Read more »

Some call me.....Tim
Some call me.....Tim
5 years ago
Reply to  BJ

BJ, care to clue us all in to who pays for your comments?
Why do I get the feeling that it’s HSUS?

You say this article is “slanted” yet your “opinion” seems slanted even further in the opposite direction, and I seriously doubt that you came up with your opinion all on your own. I’m also going to politely ask that you go back to the rock you previously lived under….TROLL!