- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 28, 2004

The Ohio-based U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance says a number of animal rights organizations across the country rake in millions of dollars to fund their anti-hunting campaigns. The alliance got the information from Animal People Magazine, which published the antis’ dollar figures based on the analysis of Internal Revenue Service reports.

Hunters are reminded that the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the Fund for Animals (FFA) will merge at the beginning of the year. According to a recent report by Scripps Howard News Service, the merger will result in a megabucks organization that has more than $95million to fight hunters — and eventually sport anglers.

“These groups have been working to trample sportsmen’s rights for decades,” alliance senior vice president Rick Story said. “They intend to invest their millions in campaigns to ban hunting and trapping and are refining their organization to get the job done.”

For example, the Animal Legal Defense Fund has a budget of $3,120,780; it says it will spend $2,462,761 on its programs, whatever that means. The Animal Welfare Institute has a budget of $1,169,280 and says it will spend $989,124 on programs. The Doris Day Animal League has a budget of $2,740,123 and claims to spend $2,104,393 on its various programs.

The FFA, with its budget of $7,604,874, has an overhead of $1,598,332, with the remainder going to its mostly anti-hunting and anti-animal testing programs. The FFA will be a major player when it joins forces with the wealthiest of the anti-hunters, HSUS. The latter’s budget is $69,548,619. It says it will spend $47,635,118 on programs and the rest on overhead.

Let me tell you, that’s some overhead: $21,913,501. The net assets for HSUS stand at $99,997,471.

Then there’s the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which has been quite active against sportfishing of late. Its budget is $21,484,419, and it says it will spend $18,442,816 on programs.

Comprehensive financial information on individual nonprofit organizations, including tax records, is available online at www.guidestar.com.

Catfish requirements change — As of Saturday, the trophy citation size of blue catfish in Virginia will increase to 30 pounds. This is if you would like to receive a frameable citation from the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. The minimum length for those seeking recognition on length alone will be 38 inches.

The VDGIF Trophy Fish Award rewards anglers for the catch of a truly outstanding fish for 23 different freshwater species. The trophy size for blue catfish is 20 pounds through Friday. So many of the big fish are hooked in the James, Chickahominy, Rappahannock and other rivers that an increase was needed.

Don’t forget extra hunt days — On Friday and Saturday, Jan.7-8, you will have another chance to shoot a deer in Maryland using your modern gun. Despite record numbers of deer that were bagged during the recently concluded firearms season, the state wants more removed. Every hunter in Region B (all counties except Allegany and Garrett) can continue his deer season objectives. In other words, if you already have shot a buck, you now must take two does. If you haven’t gotten anything at all, you can take a buck or a doe.

Serious about sunfish in Minnesota — A group of Wisconsin anglers faces heavy fines and forfeiture of equipment for taking more than its limit of sunfish in a lake in northeast Minnesota.

Minnesota game wardens recently received a call that four Wisconsin men were taking too many sunfish from Blackduck Lake. The caller had descriptions of the two trucks and boats being used. The anglers were found with 220 sunfish more than their limit. Each faces a fine of up to $3,000, one year in jail or both.

In addition to each possibly being fined $3,000 and $1,100 in restitution costs under an “overlimits law” passed by the Minnesota Legislature in 2003, the men forfeited two boats and trailers, two boat motors and four sets of rods and reels.

Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column every Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: gmueller@washingtontimes.com.

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