June 26, 2014

North Carolina Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Weighs in on Red Wolf Issue

This week, the North Carolina Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus sent a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), expressing support for the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (WRC) and their request for an “immediate programmatic evaluation” of the Service’s experimental red wolf program.

In addition to supporting WRC’s request, the letter goes on to state: “we strongly believe that the Service’s Red Wolf Recovery Program, and related legal matters, inhibit the WRC’s ability to effectively carry out wildlife management objectives and agree that a review should determine the appropriateness of continuing the experimental program.”

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission previously informed the Service of their request for an evaluation in a letter on June 2. The WRC letter additionally denied the Service’s request for continued authorization to release sterilized coyotes in the red wolf reintroduction area, though did approve the continuance of trapping coyotes provided they are euthanized once trapped. 

The Caucus letter is the latest in an issue that began with a federal court order in response to a lawsuit filed December 2013 against the WRC asking for a temporary injunction against all coyote hunting practices allowed by the WRC in the five counties encompassing the red wolf recovery area due to the potential of incidental take of red wolves. 

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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