Anti-Hunting Group Takes Aim At Public Land Hunting

(Brian Gehring /The Bismarck Tribune via AP, File)

In this day and age, hunting is a pastime, but it’s one that offers a lot to those who take it up. After all, there’s something to be said about putting your own meat in the freezer.

Plus, it’s one of those skills that can give you a great deal of peace of mind that if things get really bad, you can still put meat on the table.

Unfortunately, hunting isn’t just a matter of finding a patch of woods and walking around with a gun until you find something to shoot. You need permission to hunt on any land you don’t own plus that land has to conform to any relevant state and local laws.

For a lot of people, that makes it almost impossible to hunt. That is unless you have public land available.

There are millions and millions of acres of public land in this country, much of which is open for hunting purposes. However, one group is trying to cut down on just how much land is open for it.

The anti-hunting Center for Biological Diversity is once again trying to eliminate hunting on public lands within National Wildlife Refuges under the guise of “protecting endangered wildlife.”

The activist organization’s latest lawsuit seeks to kill hunting activities on more than 2.3 million acres of public lands overseen by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) even though USFWS’s own website promotes hunting as a wildlife management tool. No matter for the Center for Biologic Diversity. For them, it’s eliminate hunting or bust.

The newest lawsuit isn’t the Center for Biological Diversity’s first backdoor attack on public hunting. They’ve made several previous attempts, through both lawsuits and petitioning for federal rules to restrict hunting. One tried to restrict transporting harvested game across state lines. If a visiting hunter wanted to take a deer on public land in a national refuge but would instantly become a criminal for bringing it home, they’re unlikely to go hunting in the first place.

This lawsuit, filed in a Montana federal district court, alleges hunters using traditional lead-based ammunition could harm wildlife on the public lands even if they aren’t directly shot with it.

“The Fish and Wildlife Service is shrugging off the many risks that sport hunting and fishing pose to endangered animals, particularly from lead ammunition and tackle,” the Center for Biological Diversity suit argues. “We’re going to court to ensure that our nation’s wildlife refuges actually provide refuge…”

The irony and absurdity of CBD’s lawsuit weren’t lost on Field & Stream magazine, which noted, “The lawsuit ignores the long-standing contributions of hunters and anglers to conservation.” They continued by highlighting the backwardness of the challenge, saying the lawsuit is, “taking issue with hunting and fishing altogether, despite the fact that sportsmen helped pioneer the national wildlife refuge system in the first place and contribute millions of dollars towards their preservation each year.”

The idea that hunting somehow hurts endangered species is absolutely ridiculous, as already noted.

I mean, it’s already illegal to kill endangered species. Hunting any such animal is a federal offense, which no one takes issue with. Plus, again as noted, hunters contribute more money to protect wildlife than the Center for Biological Diversity ever has.

Yeah, they’re an anti-hunting group that is using the idea of protecting endangered wildlife as the cudgel with which to beat sportsmen and women about the head and shoulders.

The truth is that public land is funded by taxpayers, which means it should be available for the taxpayer’s use. Until or unless they can definitively show that hunting is causing some degree of a problem on those acres, there’s really nothing to be done. Hunting is a bipartisan issue, after all, and even Biden is looking to expand hunting access.

Luckily, I don’t see it actually happening, simply because I know how hunters operate.