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Official Newsletter of the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance & U.S.

Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation

Sportsmen’s Monthly










January 2014


t’s the beginning of a new year and that means that the outdoors industry is buzzing with excitement with nearly all of the major shows and conventions being held in the first couple months. This year is no exception but the buzz was a little different. While there was the usual thrill of seeing new products and catching up with friends and industry partners, there was a bit of an edge that could be felt, and it was created by the recent attacks on sportsmen by animal rights extremists. While popular hunting figures Melissa Bachman and Olivia Opre became high profile targets, so too did a young woman from Pennsylvania who was attacked by a bear while deer hunting. Despite the real possibility that she could have been killed, PETA sent the girl an unimaginable letter that included ridiculous quotes like “This seems to be a good opportunity to put yourself in the place of the individuals you and the rest of your hunting party were trying to kill.” Perhaps the


pinnacle was the outrage expressed by animal rights extremists over Dallas Safari Club’s auction for a black rhino hunt in the Republic of Nambia, which raised $350,000 for the conservation of the species. A simple internet search will lead you to literally thousands of derogatory comments from people who did not bother to learn about the conservation benefits being provided by this auction, and how it will be a big step toward saving the species. It is clear that these recent attacks have only served to further strengthen the grip sportsmen have on their hunting heritage. We have had enough, and we will not sit back and let those who oppose us define who we are to mainstream America. There has never been a more important time than now to stand up and protect what you believe in, and I look forward to fighting with you to defend our heritage.

Nick Pinizzotto | President and CEO

Identification Statement

If you were to stop at each booth at the SHOT show, you would have only 22 seconds to visit each of them. Total exhibit space for the SHOT show is equivilant to nearly 11 football fields.


Did you

Sportsmen’s Monthly is published by The U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance & The U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance Foundation 801 Kingsmill Parkway Columbus, OH 43229 Ph: (614) 888-4868 Fax: (614) 888-0326 E-mail: Information may be reprinted with credit to the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance


Sportsmen’s Monthly January 2014



n Tuesday, December 17th, the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation (USSAF) filed comments with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) over a proposal to remove Gray Wolves from protection under the Endangered Species Act. Wolves continue to remain at the forefront of the issues facing the sportsmen’s community today. While the Western Great Lakes and Rocky Mountain populations of wolves have already been removed from ESA protection (“delisted”), this latest proposed rule would delist the remaining wolf populations across the country (with narrow exceptions for Mexican wolves in the Southwest and Red wolves in the Southeast). In addition, USSAF and our partners are currently engaged in lawsuits in Wisconsin over their wolf hunting season and in a lawsuit in federal district court in which the Humane Society of the United States is asking a judge to again overturn the delisting of wolves in the Western Great Lakes. Of particular concern with the latest proposal is the potential for the Service to recognize two separate wolf species. While sportsmen will generally welcome delisting of a species that is as numerous as wolves (there are over 3,000 in Minnesota alone and thousands elsewhere), the Service’s proposal to “split” visually identical gray wolves into two separate species is concerning. “This issue has already been addressed by the scientific community and by the Service just two years ago in their 2011 final delisting rule for the Western Great Lakes population,” said Evan Heusinkveld, USSA vice president of government affairs. “If the anti’s are successful in subverting the science here, the implications are extremely dangerous for sportsmen and women.”

Splitting wolves into two species on the basis of alleged minor genetic differences would, if adopted, provide ammunition to animal rights and anti-hunting groups to undermine wolf delisting. Since it is likely impossible to tell these supposedly separate wolves apart visually, it would be hard to count how many wolves are in each category in order to prove neither are endangered. If the two wolf theory is adopted, anti-hunting organizations would be positioned to argue that one or the other species remains endangered, and that both must be protected because they are so similar in appearance. While the public comment period closed on December 17th, official action by the Service is not expected until mid-June 2014.

• Traditionally there has been one recognized gray wolf species (“canis lupus”). • Animal rights and anti-hunting groups are pushing to split the gray wolves by recognition of a second major wolf species (to be called “canis lycaon”) to create confusion and undermine the delisting prospects. • They argue that the two wolf species coexist in the Western Great Lakes region despite the best scientific evidence showing a singular wolf population.



Sportsmen’s Monthly January 2014



Sportsmen’s Monthly January 2014


013 was a critical year for the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA) and U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation (USSAF). While the organizations celebrated their 35th anniversary last year, our staff was working coast to coast on issues in state legislatures, the halls of Congress, in the courts and at the ballot box. At the state level, we crossed a tremendous milestone in 2013 as the one millionth Apprentice Hunter took to the fields as a result of the Families Afield program. Families Afield, a program of the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, the National Shooting Sports Foundation and the National Wild Turkey Federation, seeks to reduce and remove arbitrary barriers to getting the next generation of hunters into our sport.

Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service lands (USFS). The bill would ensure access by establishing in law that BLM and USFS properties are open to these pursuits unless specific steps are taken to close those lands for necessary, scientific reasons. If passed, “Open Until Closed” would block many of the potential lawsuits that are aimed at closing public land to American sportsmen and women.

2013 was also a busy year in the litigation arena as the fight over wolves continued to be at the forefront of USSAF’s legal work. The Foundation and our partners have been fighting a lawsuit in Wisconsin that sought to eliminate the state’s wolf hunting season using dogs. Despite the judge ruling in our favor in January, the plaintiffs have appealed the ruling and the Foundation is working overtime to defend the The hallmark of the program—the Apprentice appeal. Hunting license—allows new hunters to try hunting under the watchful eye of an experienced mentor At that same time, the Humane Society of the United prior to completing hunter education. Along with States and others filed a lawsuit in February against the National Rifle Association and the Congressional the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to overturn the Sportsmen’s Foundation, Families Afield bills have delisting of the Western Great Lakes region wolves been passed in 35 states. from the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). Despite greatly exceeding population recovery goals, In Congress, our federal affairs team worked hard the lawsuit would unnecessarily return wolves in the to promote legislation that would ensure access region to federal protection and prohibit state wildlife to public lands for generations to come. Known as agencies from managing them. USSAF and our “Open Until Closed,” this language would establish partners have intervened in the case and are working that hunting, fishing and recreational shooting are hard to ensure that the wolves in the Western Great (Continued on page 6) legitimate and important activities on Bureau of Land Lakes remain delisted.

Sportsmen’s Monthly January 2014


Last year also saw a number of ballot issue campaigns launched. Hot on the heels of legislative defeats over bear hunting in Nevada and Maine, anti-hunting organizations began collecting signatures to place a question on Maine’s Nov. 2014 ballot. If successful, Maine voters will be asked whether to ban bear hunting with dogs, bear trapping and hunting bears with bait for the second time in 10 years. In Michigan, animal rights organizations are pushing two ballot initiatives that seek to bar the state from designating wolves as a game species. Much like the lawsuits over wolves, these ballot issues could spell the end of Michigan’s wolf hunting season. In the west, trappers in Montana and Oregon also saw their way of life come under attack as groups began working to collect enough signatures to place trapping on the ballot. While the anti’s in Oregon have postponed their efforts, Montana trappers are still squarely in the crosshairs.

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While this is just a snapshot of the issues that USSA and USSAF worked on last year, one thing is clear: our way of life is under attack like never before. The animal rights and anti-hunting community has never been more organized, coordinated or well-funded than they are today. It’s going to take a united front by sportsmen and women nationwide to counter this effort. The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance and USSA Foundation were formed 35 years ago specifically for this purpose, but we need your help. If you’re not currently a member – join the fight at www. If you’re already on board, thank you for your support—but we need more people like you. Ask a friend or family member to join you in defending our hunting, fishing and trapping heritage today.


Sportsmen’s Monthly January 2014

Anti-Trapping Bill Introduced in New Hampshire


bill that would effectively ban trapping in New Hampshire was introduced earlier this month by Rep. Steve Vaillancourt (R – Hillsborough). House Bill 1579 would outlaw the use of “leghold or foothold” traps, off-set or padded jaw traps, conibears, and snares. As written, the bill eliminates nearly all forms of trapping, leaving cage traps as the only legal method of trapping—even when trapping on private land. In addition, HB 1579 will phase out the ability of wildlife control operators to use these very same methods by 2017. “This bill will virtually destroy all trapping in New Hampshire and have a devastating impact upon the nuisance control operator industry,” said Evan Heusinkveld, USSA vice president of government affairs. “New Hampshire sportsmen must call their Representatives today in opposition to HB 1579.” Trapping is widely regarded by wildlife professionals throughout the U.S. as an invaluable tool in managing animal populations.

USSA Leader Nominated for SHOT Business Award


ud Pidgeon, former president and CEO of the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA) and the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation (USSAF), was nominated by SHOT Business magazine for their Person of the Year award. SHOT Business is the official publication of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). The SHOT Show (Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade Show) is the largest conference for firearms, hunting and shooting accessories in the world, and recognizes leading individuals and corporations in the business through its SHOT Business Awards. The award “recognizes the individual who has done the best job of promoting the shooting sports and presenting a positive image while making great personal sacrifices—both in time and financial resources—in an effort to preserve our hunting and shooting heritage and protect our firearms freedoms.”

Pidgeon led the USSA and USSAF for 16 years, retiring in August of this last year. Many of the organizations most impressive victories occurred during his reign including the creation of the Trailblazer Adventure Program which to date has attracted over 1.7 million youth and their families to experience outdoor sports, many for the first time. Pidgeon also played a leadership role in creating the Families Afield campaign that has resulted in over one million apprentice licenses being sold in 35 states to date.

“I am certainly honored and humbled to be recognized by SHOT Business and NSSF,” said Pidgeon. “This recognition is not possible without the USSA and the legion of sportsmen supporting our efforts.”

Sportsmen’s Monthly January 2014




s sportsmen and women are gearing up for the year ahead, the fight for the future of hunting appears headed for the ballot box next fall as ballot issues are popping up from coast to coast. While the November election might seem far off, hunters and trappers across the country are hard at work preparing for the upcoming battles. In July, we reported on the ongoing fight over Michigan’s wolf management program. Now, sportsmen are staring down the barrel of two ballot initiatives that seek to bar the state from designating wolves as a game species. Sportsmen, not willing to sit idly by, have begun to fight back – and are circulating petitions for a citizen-initiated law to counter the anti’s efforts. If successful, the law would ensure the ability of the state’s Natural Resources Commission to designate game species. In Maine, sportsmen scored a clear victory in the legislature this spring when we defeated a bill that would have banned bear hunting with dogs and bear trapping. Following that decisive loss, the animal-rights community began gathering signatures to place a question on the Nov. 2014 ballot. This latest effort would ban bear hunting with dogs, bear trapping and hunting bears with bait. Flying under the banner of “Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting,” the anti’s reported raising $705,844 in their latest campaign finance report. Not surprisingly, $700,000 of that total came from the Humane Society of the United States, the country’s largest anti-hunting group.


Sportsmen’s Monthly January 2014

The Year of the


“While the anti’s may try to hide behind a suggestive name, sportsmen nationwide won’t be fooled by who the real proponents are of these efforts,” said Evan Heusinkveld, USSA vice president of government affairs. “National animal rights and other anti-hunting groups are leading these efforts – and they’re out to ban all hunting and trapping.” In the west, trappers in Montana and Oregon are also facing potential fights of their own. In Montana, an anti-trapping group named “Footloose Montana” is again circulating petitions to place Initiative 167 on the ballot which would ban trapping on all public lands.

While “Footloose Montana” failed to qualify a similar initiative in 2010, they have renewed their efforts with an eye on next November’s election. Along the same lines, an Oregon anti-trapping group was circulating petitions in an effort to ban trapping in the state. The group “TrapFree Oregon” recently announced they would be postponing their efforts until 2016. Overall, 2014 is shaping up to be a year dominated by political battles at the ballot box. It is vital that sportsmen in these states and others work together to stop these attacks on our heritage.

...they’re out to ban all hunting and trapping.

Sportsmen’s Monthly January 2014


SHOW recap

he 2014 National Shooting Sports Foundation’s (NSSF) Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade show (SHOT) reached new heights this year after shattering attendance records. Industry professionals hope that this points to another strong year for the outdoor industry. Held January 14-17 in Las Vegas, the 36th annual SHOT show had in excess of 67,000 attendees, an increase of 5,000 from last year. The event had over 1,600 exhibitors encompassing 635,000 square feet or 13 acres of displays. The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance staff was on site to conduct new business while also thanking the numerous Outdoor Business Council members in attendance and other long-time supporting companies. The Outdoor Business Council unites key leaders in the sporting goods industry to protect and advance our outdoor heritage. Members include such iconic names as Cabela’s, Bushnell, Crosman, Federal, Remington, Winchester and many others. “The SHOT show is by far one of the most important trade shows held in this country and is a vital event for the USSA to be able to attend,” said Nick Pinizzotto, USSA president and CEO. “Our way of life is under attack like never before by anti-hunting groups and coming together at an event such as this demonstrates the strength and resolve of our community.” SHOT is a showcase for just how large the outdoor industry has grown. According to data from NSSF, spending by target shooters and hunters had a total impact of more than $110 billion on the nation’s economy in 2011 and supports more than 866,000 jobs.


Sportsmen’s Monthly January 2014

18-year old Camille Bomboy of Lock Haven, PA narrowly survived a black bear attack while deer hunting in late December. Shortly after, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) called out the girl for being a hunter and suggested she put herself in the place of the “individuals you and the rest of your hunting party were trying to kill”. In an open letter from PETA, the animal rights group tells Bomboy to “reflect on the incident” and added that “as terrifying as it must have been to be attacked by a bear, please consider the frightening and painful experiences that hunters set out to impose on animals.”

PETA Takes Aim at Teen Bear Mauling Victim
by a bear will not sit well with mainstream America. The animal rights community continues to show how irrational and extreme they are.” PETA is known for its radical publicity stunts and dislike of the hunting, trapping and fishing community. Just recently, PETA announced its line of flying drones that they are asking their members to use to “stalk” hunters in the field. They are also notorious for their no-fur campaigns which often involve scantily clad women or activists throwing red paint on people wearing fur coats.

A PETA spokesperson also appeared on Fox News Insider and stuck by their stance. “If there was ever a time when this girl might actually sympathize with the animals that she and her family go out and kill, we think that it’s now…” Bomboy encountered the black bear while deer hunting with her family near their farm. The bear, believed to have been angered by the teenagers proximity to her cubs, attacked Bomboy, nearly slicing off her ear during the attack. “We’re used to PETA doing anything for publicity, and once again they have gone way over the line.” said Nick Pinizzotto USSA president and CEO. “Taking aim at a young lady who was attacked and severely wounded

PETA tells

“SYMPATHIZE with the “ animals...
Sportsmen’s Monthly January 2014

mauled girl:

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U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Jan. 2014

Having the support of the thousands of sportsmen clubs across the country ensures USSA will have the funds necessary to fight the antis whenever and wherever they attack our community.



• Make a generous donation directly to USSA • Host an event such as a special shooting event for your members and designate the funds for USSA • Participate in any of the USSA sponsored sweepstakes or raffles Contact us NOW! (614) 888-4868 or email Jeff Watkins at