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01/27/2011

Court Ruling Puts Hunting Rights on Public Land in Danger

Your Input is Needed to Stop This Attack on Our Hunting Heritage


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EDGEFIELD, S.C. — Federal Circuit Court ruling on the Forest Plan for the Huron-Manistee National Forest in central Michigan mandated that the Forest consider banning all firearm hunting on all or portions of 13 Semiprimitive Areas.

This court ruling sets a troubling precedent that could pose a threat to gun hunting on portions of our federal lands across the nation.

On Dec. 28, the Forest Service published a Notice of Intent (NOI) to comply with Court direction and develop a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) that will review the proposal to ban firearm hunting on the identified areas.

The Forest Service proposes only two alternatives. The first is "No-Action;" this would reaffirm existing management direction on the Forest and continue to allow hunting on the identified areas. The second is "Modified Closure Alternative;" this would ban firearm hunting on some portion of the identified areas.

The Forest Service is accepting public comment on the two alternatives until Feb. 11, 2011. It is critical that the sporting community stand united in protecting our right to hunt because if we allow this to come to pass in Michigan, it may be coming to your state next.

Below is a sample comment to help give you a starting point for developing your comments. Please take a few moments to personalize your comments and include what you believe to be the impact of a decision to ban gun hunting. Adding this information will help the Forest Service make a well informed decision.

Sample Comments

I urge the Huron-Manistee National Forest to select the No-Action alternative and continue to allow firearm hunting on all Semiprimitive Nonmotorized Management Areas and the Nordhouse Dunes Primitive Area.

Language from the Circuit Court decision that prompted the development of the SEIS suggesting that nonhunters who recreate on lands open to public hunting should be able to do so "without ducking the occasional gunshot" demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of American's tradition of responsible hunting.

The decision also ignores the many decades of harmonious coexistence between hunters and other recreationists on public lands throughout Michigan and across America.

The opportunity to hunt with a firearm exists for approximately 5 months annually in Michigan. However, substantial hunter activity occurs for only a handful of days each year in association with the gun deer season and several weekends during other popular seasons.

As our nation works to introduce a greater proportion of our citizens to the outdoors, it would be counterproductive to create artificial barriers to do so by establishing zones where well-supported and long-practiced recreational uses are no longer allowed.

I strongly urge the Huron-Manistee National Forest to aid in sustaining our hunting heritage by selecting the No-Action Alternative as outlined in the SEIS.

Submission Instructions

Comments must be received by Feb. 11, 2011. Comments may be emailed to comments-eastern-huron-manistee@fs.fed.us, and should contain the subject line "Forest Plan SEIS."

You may submit a physical copy of your comments to:

Forest Planner
Huron-Manistee National Forests
1755 S. Mitchell Street
Cadillac, MI 49601 or

They may also be faxed to (231) 775-5551. If you wish to have legal standing to file an appeal, be sure to include your name and address.

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