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By Larry Keane

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 Good

The Center for Biological Diversity’s newest challenge is a whiplash attempt to curtail public hunting opportunities on federal lands. The Center for Biologic Diversity is attempting to roll back progress of expanding hunting opportunities that was expanded under the administrations of both Democratic President Joe Biden and former Republican President Donald Trump.

In 2020, former Secretary of the Department of the Interior David Bernhardt announced the single-largest expansion of hunting on public lands in U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services history. Praising the expansion, Sec. Bernhardt said, “The Trump Administration has now made an additional 2.3 million acres accessible to new hunting and fishing opportunities. We continue to take significant actions to further conservation initiatives and support sportsmen and women who are America’s true conservationists.”

The announcement meant more than 850 hunting and fishing opportunities across more than 2.3 million acres at 147 national wildlife refuges for the American public.

Hunting isn’t a partisan activity and the Biden administration followed up four months ago with their own announcement allowing public hunting opportunities on another 2.1 million acres, including on seven refuges that did not previously allow it. President Biden’s Interior Secretary Deb Haaland added, “Increasing access to outdoor recreation opportunities is essential to advancing the Administration’s commitment to the conservation stewardship of our public lands.”

Coupled together, the bipartisan expansions of public hunting opportunities have come at a time when record numbers of Americans are taking up or returning to hunting traditions.

The Bad

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 wasn’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 Ugly

If the Center for Biological Diversity is successful in their attempts to eliminate the largest opportunity for Americans to hunt on public lands, they would be biting the hand that feeds wildlife conservation.

Firearm and ammunition manufacturers have contributed more than $14 billion since 1937 to conservation through the Pittman-Robertson excise tax, supported by hunting and recreational shooting purchases. This means that as more hunters enjoy hunting on National Wildlife Refuges and other public lands, more money is steered toward conserving those lands, wildlife management and conservation efforts.

USFWS keeps it simple on their own website, noting, “As practiced on refuges, hunting does not pose a threat to the wildlife populations – and in some instances it is necessary for sound wildlife management.”

Hunters are America’s original conservationists and if the Center for Biological Diversity was truly about supporting conservation and wildlife management, they’d support expanded public hunting opportunities on national refuges as well. Their track record, however, shows they aren’t really about conservation and healthy wildlife populations – they’re about eliminating hunting.


Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.


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  1. The anti-gunners will employ any methodology to implement their agenda…it’s not about the animals…it’s about controlling people.

    • “The anti-gunners will employ any methodology to implement their agenda…”

      It’s a bit more nuanced that that –

      What’s really going on is the Leftist Scum’s vow that if elected, the Biden administration would ‘un-do’ *any* policy of the Trump administration.

      Effectively, ‘erasing’ Trump’s impact on National history.. Changing history, changing history… I’ve heard that somewhere…

      Ah, yes, what Socialist, Communist and dictatorships do – Rewrite the history books… 🙁

  2. It’s about guns. It’s always about guns. If there is no hunting there’s no need for rifles or handguns, etc. These people are traitors. Period.

  3. If they are really interested in protecting wildlife I’d think they should go after the environmental extremists who file lawsuits to block timber sales for the purpose of removing dead and dying trees from protected forests. The purpose of putting the sales on hold is to allow time for the timber to become so insect infested as to make harvesting not worth the effort. The result is a bounty of fuel to feed the catastrophic wildfires that have been plaguing California. The amount of wildlife killed in these conflagrations is incalculable. Hunting on the other hand ensures the continuation of the species with harvesting actually protecting the remaining animals from disease and starvation.

  4. I don’t understand this issue. I’ve contributed to DU, NWTW, Quail Unlimited, etc. If you enjoy hunting and fishing why wouldn’t you? If you didn’t, quit your whining.

    • You’ve said it correct, I also searched about this but nothing got, It seems that there are some confusions related to this blog, as I’m also a writer and enjoy writing on santa costume which is now on trending just because of the Christmas.

  5. Frivolous lawsuit from those who like to hear themselves talk but cannot produce evidence of hunters reeking havoc on land and wildlife.

    We already have enough bozos in DC running the country into the ground without more bozos thinking they know how to handle 2.5 million acres without most if it and the wildlife residing there going up in flames because of no fire lanes, etc.

  6. It must be because hunting is icky and people should just buy their Impossible Meat from the grocery store instead of shooting Bambi’s mother.

    Sometimes it seems like the world is being run by a bunch of demented six year olds.

  7. These nitwits have no understanding of what happens to their precious wildlife when the wildlife populations are uncontrolled by hunting. Take deer as example, in a few years there would simply not be enough food for them and since the animals like wolves and bear are no longer in sufficient numbers to cull the herds they become sickly growth stunted creatures. Thats the ones that survive starvation and from becoming road kill when they are hit head on at 65 mph by some idiot anti-gun Prius driving retard and ends both their lives. We owe hunters our thanks for their contribution to maintaining our ecosystem. But all this is above these people as it requires common sense thought of which they are incapable.

    • I witnessed deer overpopulation in my original home state. For whatever strange reason, the state partitioned off a large area, and made it illegal to hunt in that area. Things actually looked good for a year or three – before the overpopulation really hit hard. Far, far too many deer, about the size of a German Shepard, many of them bone thin. And, they just died, in the thousands, maybe tens of thousands, when the first real winter storm hit.

  8. When I was born there were only 200 million people in the U.S and in only a few decades the population shot up to 330 million. Therein lies a problem, people going about their everyday business or enjoying the outdoors and having to contend with an artillery barrage of Slob Hunters who shoot at game animals and do not give a damn how many people they kill if they get in the line of fire.

    There are more and more people enjoying the outdoors on Federal Lands and the conflict and danger of being in the vicinity of hill jack irresponsible hunters is an ever present danger. This is also true on private lands as well.

    In one case a recently moved formerly suburbanite woman who with here husband had moved out into the sticks was hanging cloths in her back yard during deer season and made the fatal mistake of wearing white mittens which were mistaken by a slob hillbilly hunter as the flash of a deer’s white tale. He shot her dead with a 3006 and the local yokels blamed the suburbanite woman for being outside during deer season even though she was in her own back yard.

    In another case in my state of Ohio some jerk off hill jack wanted to clear his muzzle loader and fired it off into the air the bullet came down and killed a young girl going to work.

    Ditto for an older woman going to work when some slob hunter blasted off 6 shots at a deer running across a road and he hit the woman and killed her instead. It resulted in Ohio changing the law to limit a shotgun to holding 3 rounds instead of the prior law that allowed more rounds in the gun.

    In Northern Ohio hunting has been outlawed in some area’s that have high human populations and government hunters are brought in to lower the numbers of deer because slob hunters made hunting there too dangerous for the human population of suburbanites, most of whom do not hunt but also enjoy going into the woods or their own back yards and not being forced into a bunker during deer season as even being in their yards became far to dangerous. One Vietnam Vet told me he came closer to death in his own back yard when a volley of shots rained down around him during deer season.

    I look for Trumps mistake of changing the law about hunting on Federal lands to be curtailed, restricted or even rescinded altogether. The ever increasing crowds of hikers, bird watchers, campers etc are at risk from wild shooting by the ever present slob hunters.

    I myself even in the long ago days of the 60’s was often shot at when a rabbit ran or a pheasant ran or flew in my direction as the slob hunters started shooting at it when they clearly saw I was directly in the line of fire. Human life meant nothing to them and wearing red was ignored completely as they shot first and hoped they did not kill you.

    • Dacian, you know little of what you speak. When I was born there were 200 million Americans. Today, there are maybe 220 to 250 million Americans. The population is either stable, or shrinking now. Unfortunately, we have well over 100 million illegal aliens who have come here, dropped anchor babies, and can’t be evicted.

      Meanwhile, both parties have been repeating that dishonest “estimate” of 20 million illegal aliens for about 30 years, like, they think that the 20 million they admitted to in 1990 was some kind of a stable number.

      Take your progressive tripe elsewhere, please.

    • Such a repulsive ichor seeps off the screen anytime Dacian posts a comment. The terrified ignorance and impotent rage is so evident in his attempts at communication. He is seriously mentally ill.

      Dacian, please reach out for help before you hurt yourself or someone else, you are not well.

  9. When I lived in Wyoming, I knew several farmers and ranchers who begged hunters to come thin the herds of elk and mule deer. Same thing white tail deer in Minnesita and Wisconsin. Too many animals for the land too support.

    • I wish someone would beg me to come and thin the deer herd on their property. I would be all too happy to oblige them.


  11. If we could just get the mountain lions to start eating only liberals? As their population grows because hunting is stopped. I’m okay with that.


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