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Jan 22, 2001
San Antonio, Texas, USA
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SCI Wins Fairness for Sportsmen in Alaska

A few days ago, a federal judge in Alaska granted sportsmen a voice in the allocation of hunting rights. This was the long-awaited decision issued in SCI’s lawsuit against the U.S. Departments of Interior and Agriculture and the Federal Subsistence Board. SCI’s suit challenged the way the Federal Subsistence Board provided special subsistence hunting preferences to certain groups while inhibiting and/or excluding others from access to hunting opportunities on federal lands. In his opinion, Judge Holland of the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska unequivocally stated that sport users of fish and wildlife have a legitimate interest that the government must take into account when considering the allocation of subsistence priorities.

Before Judge Holland issued his opinion, SCI had already seen several victories through changes in the Federal Subsistence Board decision-making process. As a result of its litigation efforts, SCI actually won one of its main challenges early on, when the Federal government agreed to require “substantial evidence” to support recommendations that granted subsistence priorities to select groups of subsistence hunters. SCI President, Gary F. Bogner, said “the results of this case confirm that Safari Club International is First For Hunters in the courts. We are absolutely tenacious in our efforts to protect hunting opportunities for sportsmen worldwide.”

The illegalities of the government’s administration of subsistence priorities were brought to SCI’s attention in 1998. Under the leadership of SCI Regional Representative Ron Maddox, and with the invaluable assistance of Alaska Kenai Peninsula Chapter President Mike Hamrick and SCI member (and this year’s Conservationist of the Year John Morrison), the SCI chapters in Alaska supported the litigation effort.

Kevin Anderson, Chairman of SCI’s Legal Task Force said, “this victory shows that SCI has arrived as a power in the courts for sportsmen.” Anderson also praised the efforts of SCI’s litigation counsel, Anna Seidman, and local counsel Brent Cole, in securing this victory.

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