On November 1, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) issued a notice in the federal register requesting comments regarding Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests from the Humane Society for information on imports and exports of wildlife specimens. The notice has caused significant concern amongst hunters who are justifiably worried that their personal information could be made public.
The reports sought by the Humane Society catalog every import and export of wildlife into and out of the United States and are currently the subject of litigation between the Humane Society and FWS. Because these reports are required for hunting trophies there was legitimate concern that FWS might release information that could impact hunters’ privacy.
NRA reached out to FWS regarding these issues, and the Service confirmed that they have no intention of releasing any identifying information on private individuals. The information that FWS is seeking with the federal register notice is from business entities that are identified in the wildlife importation reports.
While individual hunters do not need to respond to the federal register notice, FWS is seeking information from any businesses that may be harmed by the release of their information in the import and export reports. Any impacted businesses must file a “detailed written statement” objecting to the release of their information. Details on how and where to submit this written statement can be found in the federal register notice. The deadline for filing objections with FWS is November 22, 2016.