- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 7, 2003

People in the animal rights movement are all smiles these days. Bambi huggers everywhere are elated over a decision by a sympathetic Massachusetts judge who stopped a decades-old pheasant hunt on the Cape Cod National Seashore.

The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation Sportsmen’s Legal Defense Fund (SLDF) and the Safari Club International intervened in a lawsuit on behalf of sportsmen to protect hunting on Cape Cod and all federal lands, but in the case of the pheasant hunt it didn’t succeed. The hunters were preparing for the annual October event, which was a sore spot with groups like the Humane Society of the United States, the Fund for Animals, and the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. They sued the National Park Service, which manages the property, and found a judge that agreed with the animal religionists.

U.S. District Court Judge Patti B. Saris ordered the Park Service to ban the hunting of the ring-necked pheasants, which was to start Oct.18. Saris also ordered it to determine whether other hunting on the National Seashore upsets the environment, but she allowed it to continue while a study is under way.

The Boston Globe reported that more than a dozen species of waterfowl and game may be hunted, including ducks, grouse, crows, rabbits, raccoons, foxes, squirrels, coyotes, and deer.

Apparently one bone of contention was the origin of the pheasants, which are farm-raised and then stocked on Seashore land.

Hunters, meanwhile, say the hunt does no harm. “It’s a tradition that doesn’t hurt anybody,” said Mike Veloza, president of the Barnstable County League of Sportsmen’s Clubs.

About the judge’s decision, Veloza said, “There have been no problems at all. It’s crazy.”

Like many other states, Massachusetts has stocked pheasants since the early 1900s. Pheasants are popular with hunters because of their exquisite taste and exotic plumage.

NRA applauds Congress — We join the National Rifle Association in applauding the House of Representatives for unanimously passing a resolution voicing its support for the millions of American hunters and other sportsmen. The NRA says a tip of the hat goes to the sponsors of the resolution, New York Republicans James Walsh and Sherwood Boehlert, and the 37 original co-sponsors for their recognition of the positive contributions made by hunters and sportsmen across the nation.

Hunters, anglers and related participants play a pivotal role in America’s economy and society. They are leaders in promoting wildlife management and conservation. Since 1939, hunters and shooters have paid more than $4billion on excise taxes placed on sporting equipment. Hunters and fishermen also fund nearly 75 percent of the annual income for all 50 state conservation agencies, not to mention the $21billion alone that hunters add to the American economy every year.

Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column every Sunday and Wednesday and his Fishing Report every Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: [email protected]

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