Hunter Nation Files Brief Defending Hunters in Federal Wolf Delisting Case
Kansas City, Kansas…Hunter Nation, the fastest growing grassroots group in the country dedicated to defending our hunting traditions, filed a brief in federal court this week defending the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) decision to remove the gray wolf from the Endangered Species List.
Under President Trump, the FWS diligently followed science, and the law, and determined that the gray wolf should no longer be considered endangered and management of the species should be returned to the states. The wolf was officially off the list beginning January 4, 2021 - paving the way for wolf hunting seasons in the lower 48 states.
“Hunter Nation exists to fight for the rights of all hunters and be their voice when our rights are infringed,” said Luke Hilgemann, CEO of Hunter Nation. “Filing this legal brief was an important part of our strategy to ensure states maintain the ability to effectively and responsibly manage predator populations like the wolf, that have been on the rise.”
Following the delisting, states were still hesitant to hold hunting seasons. For example, despite Wisconsin law requiring a wolf hunt between November and February, Wisconsin DNR sought to delay the hunt until November of 2021, likely anticipating anti-hunter lawsuits like this latest federal suit. Hunter Nation saw through this delay strategy, sued the DNR and won- protecting hunters’ right to hunt the wolf. Wisconsin saw a very successful hunt earlier this year thanks to Hunter Nation’s advocacy.
As predicted, anti-hunting activists challenged the Trump delisting rule, asking a federal court to set aside science and the law and instead decide the case based on policy and political preferences. These challenges come despite bipartisan support for the rule. The gray wolf delisting rule was promulgated under President Trump and is now defended by President Biden’s FWS. This bipartisan support is undoubtedly due to the fact that the science is undeniable- the gray wolf has fully recovered, and the population is robust.
In its brief, Hunter Nation argued the importance of making these delisting decisions based on science, not emotion or policy preference. A robust wolf population requires responsible predator management. Hunter Nation also highlighted the devastating impacts of the mismanagement and overpopulation of predators, namely livestock and pet depredation as well as other human conflict. Wolves do not exist in a vacuum. They live in locations with other species, including humans, pets, and livestock. When lethal predator management practices are prohibited, there are consequences.
Statistics show wolf-human conflicts increase when populations are allowed to run amok. “These wolf complaints aren’t just statistics, each is a striking blow to a farmer’s livelihood or the trauma of the violent death of a family pet,” added Hilgemann. “We must, and we will, continue to fight back on behalf of hunters against these frivolous, anti-science lawsuits brought by groups who seek to end our hunting traditions.”