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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Courts and Wildlife Management Policy

The animal rights extremists have one goal - end all hunting. Wildlife management decisions should be made by those who know the issues - not federal courts. But that is exactly what is happening. Every time a western state is given authority to manage their gray wolf population, the anti-hunting groups go to court. Fortunately, a federal court just found in favor of allowing controlled wolf hunting to take place in Idaho and Montana. A coalition of 13 groups had sought to stop the hunts and return gray wolves to the endangered species list. U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy said the plaintiffs’ key arguments were “unpersuasive.”

Today, we learn via The Volokh Conspiracy that yesterday a federal judge restored protections for grizzly bears near Yellowstone National Park, overturning a finding by the Bush administration that the animals had made a sustainable recovery. The judge sited climate change concerns impacting one of the grizzly's most important food sources as a reason that the Bush administration findings were flawed.

A representative of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation told Cam Edwards recently on that the increasing wolf population in Idaho and Montana was having a negative impact on deer and elk populations and that those states were having to adjust the number of tags available for hunts.

David Allen, RMEF president and CEO said in August when the suit was filed:

Long gone are the days when species like elk, bears and wolves can go completely unmanaged. We don't live in a zoo and this isn't the old West. It is frustrating that America's wildlife conservation system, which has worked wonderfully well since the time of Theodore Roosevelt, has been reduced to a legal chess match.

I could not agree more. By allowing predators whose only natural enemy is man to increase unchecked, anti-hunting groups can impact those species that are hunted, and cause their numbers to decrease to a level that game management agencies will have to reduce the ability to hunt them.

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