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Sportsmen Win Court Battle to Protect Wildlife Management

A court ruling yesterday deals a major setback to an insidious campaign that has worked for years to remove sportsmen as the funding source for this nation’s wildlife programs.

The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation (formerly the Wildlife Conservation Fund of America) had been fighting a lawsuit filed by the Sierra Club against the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). In his ruling, Judge Richard Enslen ruled against the Sierra Club, clearing the way for sportsman-supported wildlife conservation to continue.

In the suit, the Sierra Club made five specific complaints against the MDNR and the USFWS. The complaints involved land management issues, including forestry practices that benefit game species including white-tailed deer, wild turkey and ruffed grouse, as well as various non-game animals.

Other sportsmen’s organizations working on the effort included the National Wild Turkey Federation, the Michigan United Conservation Clubs and the Ruffed Grouse Society.

“We had to get involved because we knew that a ruling in Michigan in favor of the environmentalists would spell the end of programs that have produced abundant wildlife for hunters and anglers across the country,” said Rick Story, U. S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation vice president. “This victory protects hunting programs for all sportsmen and will go far toward curbing the spread of these cases to other states. ”

The Sierra Club has filed several suits in recent years that challenge the use of Pittman-Robertson (P-R) and Dingell-Johnson (D-J) dollars for state wildlife programs that include hunting, fishing and trapping. The P-R and D-J programs distribute funding to the states generated by an excise tax on sporting arms and ammunition and fishing gear. The tax is borne by hunters and anglers.

Story explained the significance of the latest court decision.

“This victory sets another precedent to ensure that sportsmen remain in the funding picture for fish and wildlife conservation,” he said. “In 19946, we prevailed over the Sierra Club in a suit that challenged the use of P-R dollars for a moose management program in Vermont. When the Sierra Club goes to another state with its next suit, the judge will have two rulings favorable to sportsmen on which to base a decision.”

The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation protects and defends America’s wildlife conservation programs and the pursuits – hunting, fishing and trapping – that generate the money to pay for them. The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation is responsible for public education, legal defense and research. Its mission is accomplished through several distinct programs coordinated to provide the most complete defense capability possible. For more information about the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation and its work, call (614) 888-4868 or visit its website,

Information on this website can be reprinted with a citation to the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance and

For more information about how you can protect your rights as a sportsman, contact The U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance, 801 Kingsmill Parkway, Columbus, OH 43229. Phone (614) 888-4868. E-Mail us at [email protected]

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