The Wyoming Outfitters and Guides Association (WYOGA), Jackson Hole Outfitters and Guides Association (JHOGA), and Safari Club International jointly moved to intervene in a case in which anti-hunting groups are challenging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) approach to phasing out supplemental winter feeding of elk and bison on the National Elk Refuge in Wyoming.
The federal district court in Washington, DC granted the motion allowing the three groups to intervene.
The plaintiffs—Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club, and National Wildlife Refuge Association—want the FWS to expedite the transition away from supplemental winter feeding or stop the feeding altogether. Animal rights groups have sued to stop the feeding several times before, alleging that the concentration of elk on feed grounds increases the risk of disease transmission, including a recent concern that supplemental winter feeding would increase the risk of CWD transmission.
Feeding on the Refuge and state feed grounds has occurred for more than 100 years. Without the supplemental feeding, many elk would starve.
The FWS addressed the risk of disease transmission in their plan to reduce supplemental winter feeding.
The intervention of WYOGA, JHOGA, and SCI is step-one in the litigation process. The FWS is scheduled to release the Administrative Record for the litigation in May. Following that, the parties will likely file motions for summary judgment to resolve the merits of the case.
WYOGA, JHOGA, and SCI intervened to defend the adaptive phase-out of supplemental winter feeding and prevent massive starvation of elk. The Jackson elk herd provides high-quality hunting opportunities for hunters, and outfitters in Wyoming depend on those hunts for their clients.
WYOGA and JHOGA are represented by attorneys from the Falen Law Offices, LLC. SCI is represented by in-house counsel.
Stay tuned for more information as the case winds its way through the legal system!