The anti-hunting effort is alive and well and living in Georgia. As we have reported several times recently in GON, the rampant anti-hunting organization The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is trying to stop all hunting on Bond Swamp National Wildlife Refuge and 36 other recently acquired refuges across the country. Their weapon has been the lawsuit, and they successfully sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) last August because the FWS’s paper trail to allow hunting had some holes in it.
In response to that lawsuit, the FWS is in the midst of a whirlwind of paperwork to get the documentation for its hunting programs in order. FWS personnel are writing things called Environmental Assessments (ES) and Compatibility Determinations to show clearly that sport hunting is okay and compatible with other uses on Bond Swamp.
Now they need your help. Part of the paperwork they must return to the judge handling the lawsuit is comments from the public about hunting on Bond Swamp NWR and hunting on National Wildlife Refuges in general. You can expect that the folks at HSUS will ask their followers to send comments against allowing you to hunt on refuges.
In Georgia, hunting on refuges has a long and strong tradition. A high number of hunters have enjoyed hunting on Piedmont NWR and other refuges around the state. The HSUS wants to stop that. You can help stop them.
The overall evaluation of hunting at Bond Swamp, called The Sport Hunting Plan and EA for Bond Swamp NWR, is available for a 30-day public review beginning March 5, 2007. The comment period ends on April 5, 2007. The Plan offers only two alternatives: no hunting, or a continuation of the sound wildlife management and well-run hunting programs on these lands.
Do you think hunting is a reasonable use of national wildlife refuge land?
Tell the FWS, so they can show the judge strong support for hunting programs.
The Draft Sport Hunting Plan will be available for review online at <www.fws.gov/bondswamp> on March 5. Comments can easily be made on the Website.
Copies of the plan can be requested from the Piedmont NWR office. Written comments, requests for the plan, or questions can be directed to Assistant Refuge Manager Carolyn Johnson at 718 Juliette Road, Round Oak, GA 31038. The office phone number is (478) 986-5441. Email comments can be provided to the following address: Carolyn_Johnson@fws.gov.