Monday, March 21, 2011

Big Game Forever Responds to NRA, SCI, CSF Release

Big Game Forever is grateful for the generous support received from sportsmen across the country advocating Congressional action to delist America's wolf populations. We understand that lack of wolf management in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan are a major concern not only for the people of these states but for all Americans. Big Game Forever has worked tirelessly to allow the return of America's wolf populations to state wildlife managers and restore balance within the ecosystem. We strongly feel that these goals are consistent with providing ongoing state wildlife protections for wolf populations.

Big Game Forever has made every attempt to be inclusive by working with other organizations in this effort. We are grateful for the immense support by the public, members of Congress and sportsmen conservation groups in support of wolf delisting legislation. This support has been important to the progress in Congressional legislative efforts.

Big Game Forever was disappointed by the inaccurate press release issued by National Rifle Association, Safari Club International and The Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation (the "Joint Press Release") regarding Big Game Forever and Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife. The Joint Press Release focused on private communications that were purportedly leaked to the public. We welcome the opportunity to set the record straight. The draft communications from Big Game Forever were sent to a very limited group of trusted individuals. Any dissemination was without the permission or knowledge of Big Game Forever. Additionally, such draft communications were not only preliminary and non-final in nature, but were prepared in an effort to increase collaboration based on conversations with third parties. At no point was Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife involved with the preparation or distribution of any of these communications. To the best of our knowledge these communications have not been distributed to the public. While we cannot control the actions of third parties, Big Game Forever has acted in good faith and has attempted to address concerns as they were expressed. Big Game Forever was surprised by the tone and content of this very public press release as we had no indication that this matter had not been resolved privately.

Big Game Forever takes its role very seriously in educating the public and elected officials of the science and common sense policies of proper wildlife management. We welcome the opportunity to once again look past divisiveness and refocus our energies on the needs of sportsmen, livestock producers, wildlife and the citizens of America. We welcome the collaboration of any and all groups who are willing to work together to address the challenges presented by unmanaged and no longer endangered wolf populations.