By Lars Dalseide | August 8 2014 15:16

Latest steps by HSUS to ban hunting goes through the Department of the Interior

American Hunter's look at new HSUS regulations on public land hunting Outdoor writer Adam Heggenstaller digs deep into what the Humane Society is trying to do to public lands ...

HSUS Attempts to Drive Hunters, Shooters from Public Lands
NRA and other conservation organizations call for Interior Department to reject lead-ammo ban petition; Hornady urges hunters and shooters to take action.

In a July 23 letter submitted to Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, NRA and 32 other conservation organizations call the recent lead-ammo ban petition filed with the Department of the Interior (DOI) by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and other anti-hunting groups “quite simply an attempt to drive hunters, and subsequently recreational target shooters, off of Federal public lands. It is unnecessary, has no basis in sound science and should be rejected by the Department.”

The HSUS petition, filed in early June, demands DOI implement rules that ban hunting with traditional ammunition containing lead on more than 160 million acres of public lands managed by the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service . As outlined in “The HSUS Lead-Free Campaign” handbook, the petition is the first step in a three-pronged, “comprehensive approach to ending the use of lead ammunition for hunting purposes—hitting the issue at every level and utilizing animal welfare concerns as the primary rationale—[that] will achieve lasting results and save millions of animals’ lives in the process.”

Despite its emotional pleas to pet lovers, “animal welfare” appears to be the least of concerns for HSUS. As reported by HumaneWatch, HSUS tax forms show less than 1 percent of the $131 million it raised in 2011 went to support animal shelters. In its 2012 tax return, HSUS—a registered 501(c)(3) organization—reported investing a whopping $25.7 million in offshore funds.

“But why would a U.S. charity be putting $26 million in the Caribbean?” asked HumaneWatch in a recent blog post. “HSUS is a non-profit. It’s not in the business of investing money in hedge funds to make a profit. … It’s because money seems to come first for the cynics and the bean-counters running HSUS.”

If HSUS were concerned about animals, it would recognize the leading role hunters and shooters play in conserving wildlife. The National Shooting Sports Foundation reports that, as of 2013, purchases of firearms and ammunition raised more than $7 billion in support of wildlife conservation through an excise tax established in 1937 under the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act, commonly called “Pittman-Robertson.” These funds benefit all wildlife on public lands—not just game animals—and a large part of them have come from the sale of traditional ammunition.

But clearly, the anti-hunting agenda HSUS seeks to further would never include promoting the efforts of hunters. In fact, as NRA and the other signatories, which include several archery and bowhunting groups, point out in their letter to Secretary Jewell, “HSUS has said, ‘We are going to use the ballot box and the democratic process to stop all hunting in the United States. We will take it species by species until all hunting is stopped in California. Then we will take it state by state.’ HSUS has led numerous state and national initiatives in furtherance of achieving that goal, and this petition is simply another tactic unto that end.”

In its latest step to ban hunting—and put at risk wildlife populations hunters and shooters have for decades paid to conserve—HSUS cites in the petition “significant hazards posed by the use of lead ammunition.” However, the letter submitted by conservation organizations in response states, “The body of scientific literature on the use of traditional ammunition does not support the petitioners' underlying conclusion that the past and continued use of traditional ammunition has resulted in negative wildlife population level effects.


Get the rest of Heggenstaller's HSUS investigation on the American Hunter website.

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