U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Director Talks Wolves
Daniel Ashe, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, discussed the status of wolf management during a breakfast meeting Jan. 11 with several ATA Board and industry members and Miles Moretti, president/CEO at Mule Deer Foundation; and David Allen, president/CEO of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
Mitch King, ATA director of government relations, moderated the meeting. Ashe said he's optimistic environmental groups won't file a lawsuit to halt the wolf's removal from the federal Endangered Species List in the Great Lakes states, which will take effect Jan. 27.
By delisting wolves, the federal government allows state wildlife agencies to take over wolf-management work, which can include hunting and trapping seasons. Allen said it's important for hunters to seek aggressive wolf-control plans while stressing they do not favor eliminating wolves. "You don't want to get the wolves below the state's population goal or else they'll go right back on the Endangered Species List, and then you'll lose state control again," Allen said.
Ashe said that while it's important for states to manage their wolf populations, he doesn't consider wolves the biggest challenge to healthy populations of big-game animals in the United States. "Predators exist for every game species we hunt, whether you're hunting ducks, geese, elk or deer," he said. "The bigger threat to all game species isn't hawks, eagles, wolves or mountain lions. The biggest threat is declining habitat, loss of habitat and fragmentation of habitat. Habitat protection must be our No. 1 goal if we're to enjoy healthy wildlife populations far into the future."
Did You Know?
The ATA estimates that 20 percent of all independent archery-only retailers account for 80 percent of all retail sales.