Attention American Hunters: If this affects you, you've got 21 days to act and protect your personal information.
On Nov. 1, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced that hunters who have imported or exported wildlife specimens or hunting trophies to or from the United States are about to have their name and related documents handed over to Humane Society International(HSI)—the international division of the Humane Society of the United States. Why? Because HSI says it's entitled to your personal information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
As noted in yesterday's Federal Register, this information includes the identity of all U.S. and foreign importers and exporters of hunting trophies for the years 2002-2010, 2013 and 2014 along with the declared value of a given trophy. The USFWS previously received four FOIA requests in 2014 and 2015 but withheld some of the info based on three disclosure exemptions. HSI sued and the NRA and SCI got involved to defend the USFWS' decision. While the case is ongoing, the USFWS has a limited time to comply with FOIA requests, despite that the disclosure of such private information could result in harm to those hunters whose identities are exposed. The USFWS told the court it is obligated to notify those affected that their information is the subject of a FOIA request, leading to the notice posted in yesterday's Federal Register.
If You Imported or Exported Wildlife, Act Now! The notice applies to all hunters inside and outside the United States and all game species worldwide for the above years. Now the hundreds of thousands of law-abiding American hunters who are impacted have 21 days from Nov. 1, the date of the notice's publication in the Federal Register, to object. The USFWS presumes that anyone who does not reply has no objection.
Written responses are to be sent to the USFWS's Office of Law Enforcement Freedom of Information office. The notice is available by clicking here.
More Guidelines to Come from NRA-ILA Hunters who are impacted by the USFWS announcement are encouraged to visit the Federal Register link ASAP. Your response entails much more than citing your name and that you do not want your information released. You must demonstrate that you fall under one of the cited exemptions, but it is not a given your information will not be released.
NRAHLF.org is following the developments closely. Stay tuned as NRA-ILA is preparing guidelines for how best to formulate your response and address this egregious affront to all American hunters’ privacy and freedoms.