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A long courtroom battle to stop hunting on sixty wildlife refuges was decided by a federal judge in favor of sportsmen. The case started with a lawsuit brought in 2003 by the Fund for Animals, which later merged with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). The judge’s decision was rendered in April, and the appeal period ended on June 20, 2011 with HSUS failing to file an appeal.

The suit attempted to use the National Environmental Policy Act to close hunting on the refuges. In his decision, Federal Judge James S. Gwin said, “Plaintiffs...are not entitled to an inviolate sanctuary for their preferred uses....Congress has determined that, to the extent possible, hunters, fishers, observers, photographers, and educators must share the refuge.” Congress, with its 1997 Refuge Improvement Act, made hunting, fishing, and other wildlife-oriented activities priority uses on refuge lands.

Groups representing hunters—the U.S. Sportsmen’s Association (USSA), Safari Club International, Ducks Unlimited, National Rifle Association, Izaac Walton League, and local organizations—defended the case through numerous and costly briefings.

See the Outdoor News article of June 20, 2011 for more details.

Posted June 21, 2011

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