By Joe Evans
USA -(Ammoland.com)- Safari Club International’s litigation team has been fighting for hunters rights for a long time. The fight to secure hunter’s rights is nowhere near over yet. Even with a important victory in this year’s election there is so much more work to be done.
To put this in perspective, SCI hosted a lunch with their legislative team on Feb. 1, 2017 at noon.
Anna Seidman, Doug Burdin and Jeff Patchen of the Safari Club International Litigation Team detailed some of the important ongoing fights and victories over the past year.
One of these key important victories in 2016 include states like Indiana and Kansas enshrining the right to hunt into their state constitutions. That ensures the right to hunt and fish for not only this generation, but the generations to come.
Before 1996, only Vermont had those rights enshrined in their state’s constitution.
With the addition of Indiana and Kansas in 2016, that makes a total of 21 states that enshrined those rights.
“I’m confident that this time next year, I will be touting a lot more victories,” said Jeff Patchen, manager of government relations, state affairs for SCI’s Litigation Team.
Despite the victories in 2016, SCI still has ongoing or pending litigation to contend with. Here’s a look at some of those cases.
SCI Goes to Court in Alaska:
On January 19, 2017, SCI filed suit in federal court in Alaska to challenge regulations adopted by the Obama Administration that restrict and prohibit forms of hunting on National Wildlife Refuges and National Preserves in Alaska.
The state of Alaska filed a similar suit on January 13, 2017.
Although SCI’s case and the State’s have several similarities, but they are different in a lot of ways.
For example, the state’s complaint focuses significantly on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Parks Service regulations’ interference with the State of Alaska’s ability to manage wildlife and to provide wildlife resources for use by subsistence hunters.
In contrast, the SCI suit focuses more specifically on the harm the regulations cause to unsubstantial hunters and guides in Alaska. SCI’s case includes a challenge to regulations that the FWS adopted in 2016 for the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge that isn’t included in the State’s case.
“These cases are all about Federal overreach,” said Doug Burdin of the SCI Litigation Team.
SCI filed the lawsuit on the final day of the Obama administration, trying to make it clear the suit represents a challenge to the former administration.
While SCI hopes Ryan Zinke, the incoming Secretary of the Interior, and the new Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services will promptly reverse the Alaska regulations, they hope to make sure the new administration sees that the impact on federal and state resource management agencies are high priority for the hunting community through the suit.
Elephant Litigation Trumpets Some Good News:
SCI and the NRA’s legal challenges to the Zimbabwe and Tanzania elephant import bans have taken a long time, and they expect the cases to last even longer before the final outcome.
However, small victories are coming along the way.
Recently, the D.C. Court of Appeals ruled in SCI and the NRA’s favor and reversed all aspects of the district court’s dismissal of challenges to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services 2014 ban of the import of Tanzania elephants.
This ruling allows SCI and the NRA to go back to the district court, hoping for another favorable ruling.
The SCI Litigation Team will be hosting several seminars throughout the remaining days at SCI Convention, ranging from
Here’s a preview of the programs they’ll be presenting:
SCI’s Wildlife Law Continuing Legal Education Course: SCI will host it’s tenth annual CLE course for lawyers. The course provides presentations by the combination of SCI’s own litigation attorneys and guest speakers from around the country.
Registration for the course is handled by the State Bar of Nevada and is separate from SCI Convention registration. The fee for attending is $299. Registration is available at the door.
For more information, contact Anna Seidman.
- When: Friday, Feb. 3, 2017 in Lagoon K/L, Level 2-South at 1 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.
Western Sattes Directors Forum: The Directors of Game and Fish Agencies from six western states (Colorado, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming and Nevada) will share their thoughts about hunting and wildlife management in their states and will take questions from their SCI member audience.
Take advantage of this opportunity to meet with the heads of agencies that will make decisions about your hunting opportunities and access for the coming year.
- When: Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017 in Lagoon K/L, Level 2-South at 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.
SCI Members Game and Fish Commissioners’ Forum: For the first time, SCI members who serve on state Game and Fish Commissioners, Councils and Boards across the country will come together to share common ideas and concerns arising out of their rolesin decision-making about hunting in their states.
Come learn about how you can best work with your state’s Game and Fish Commission, Council and Board and have the greatest impact on decisions that are important to your hunting opportunities and access.
- When: Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017 in Lagoon K/L, Level 2-South at 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
About Joe Evans:
Joe Evans is the Assistant Editor at Ammoland.com.
The 22-year-old journalist, freelance writer and editor is a Pennsylvanian, a University of Scranton 2016 graduate. He’s a sports fan, blogger and lover of all things interesting. Forever writing something somewhere. Find him and read his work on Twitter and Ammoland.com.