Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Sportsmen Win First Round in Court Fight to Protect Trapping

(Columbus) - A federal judge today dismissed a lawsuit that attempted to use the threatened Canada lynx as a pawn in the anti-hunters’ lawsuit to ban trapping in Minnesota. The decision will allow trapping to continue in the state.

U.S. District Judge Patrick Schiltz dismissed the suit brought by the Humane Society of the United States against the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to ban trapping for abundant game wherever endangered or threatened species exist. The anti’s had argued that since the state holds a population of Canada lynx, a species protected under the Endangered Species Act, all trapping of any species should be stopped to prevent incidental catch of lynx. There is no data proving this to be a problem.

The dismissal was in accordance with a settlement in which the DNR agreed to apply for a federal incidental take permit. The permits are distributed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for activities that could possibly result in "take" of threatened or endangered species. Trapping will continue while the permit process moves forward.

“We are satisfied that the agreement will not disrupt trapping in Minnesota,” said U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation President Bud Pidgeon. “However, there is still work to be done. Two nearly identical lawsuits that threaten trapping, hunting and fishing wherever endangered species exist are still pending in Minnesota and Maine.”

The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation, along with the Minnesota Trappers Association, Fur Takers of America, National Trappers Association, and Minnesota trappers Todd Roggenkamp and Cory Van Driel, represented the sportsmen’s interests as parties in the suit.

“This case could have turned Minnesota’s trapping industry upside down,” said Charles Andres, president of Fur Takers of America. “We are glad to know that trapping will continue status quo while the federal permits are acquired and reviewed.”

The U.S. Sportsmen’s Legal Defense Fund is the nation’s only litigation force that exclusively represents sportsmen’s interests in the courts. It defends wildlife management and sportsmen’s rights in local, state and federal courts. The U.S. SLDF represents the interests of sportsmen and assists government lawyers who often have little or no background in wildlife law.

The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation is a national association of sportsmen and sportsmen’s organizations that protects and advances America’s heritage of hunting, fishing and trapping.

Source: U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation

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