NRA, Safari Club criticize Utah hunting groups over alleged misrepresentation

Published March 24, 2011 9:56 am
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Three of the most powerful pro-hunting organizations in the country fired some sharp criticism Friday at Salt Lake City-based Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife and its subsidiary, Big Game Forever.

The National Rifle Association, Safari Club International and Congressional Sportsmen Caucus said they strongly support legislation before Congress to delist gray wolves under the Endangered Species Act. But the three groups say the two Utah organizations are claiming in a draft news release that they are opposing the legislation, an allegation that "blatantly misrepresents" the groups' position.

In a Friday news release, they urged the media and congressional offices to "thoroughly investigate and independently confirm" any claims the Utah groups make.

Big Game Forever is a spinoff of Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, with supporters such as retired baseball star Wade Boggs and comedian Jeff Foxworthy, that is raising funds to lobby for the bill to delist the wolves.

In its own release Friday, Big Game Forever said it was disappointed by what it called an "inaccurate press release" from the large pro-hunting groups. They said the release in question was a draft sent to a limited number of people that was likely leaked 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," said the release. "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."

The Salt Lake Tribune

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