An attack by the animal rights group Defenders of Wildlife targeting former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is being countered by the Ohio-based U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance, and numerous other groups are condemning the public relations smear campaign.

Defender's has sent out numerous e-mail pleas to its membership asking that they contact Discovery Communications, the parent company of the Discovery and Animal Planet channels, and urge it to drop a proposed new documentary to be called "Sarah Palin's Alaska" in which the former governor will star. This campaign largely rests on a gross mischaracterization of then Alaska Gov. Palin's wolf-management plan and recycled outrage at her opposition to designating polar bears as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act.

According to the Defender's Web site, more than 125,000 people have signed an online petition the group intends to forward to Discovery's CEO David Zaslov. Previously, the USSA stood up against the Defender's before when the group used the wolf issue during fundraising appeals in 2009.

At that time, the USSA and several other leading conservation groups sent a letter to Gov. Palin outlining support for the policy and stands by the letter as an accurate representation of the policy. It clarifies that the Alaska program avoids game population decimation, especially for moose and caribou "through a rigorously controlled, scientifically based system."

In addition, the USSA shares Gov. Palin's concerns over the ESA designation of polar bears as endangered. That decision was based largely on an unverifiable 50-year projection of what could happen as a result of global warming.

Gov. Palin is regarded as a conservationist by those inside and outside the wildlife management community and the rhetoric coming from Defender's reflects an unscientific, emotional appeal. It fails to take into account the science supporting the wolf management program in Alaska as well as the lack of science used to place the polar bear on the endangered species list.

"Once again, Defender's of Wildlife have chosen to engage in misleading emotional appeals in order to tarnish the reputation of Gov. Palin," USSA president and CEO Bud Pidgeon said. "Whatever one's politics, Gov. Palin should not be falsely accused of being anti-conservation when her actions were in concert with wildlife management professionals and verifiable science."

For more information, contact the USSA at 614-888-4868, email info@ussportsmen.org or access the Web site at www.ussportsmen.org.

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Charlie Charlesworth, a Blue Mountain High graduate and host of "Fly Fishing Top 2 Bottom," which is televised on The Sportsman Channel, is today's guest of Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association member Doyle Dietz on "Experience the Outdoors," from 7:30-8 a.m. on Oldies 1410-AM. A rebroadcast will be heard Sunday from 9:30-10 a.m. on WMGH, 105.5-FM, and is available on the Web at www.wmgh.com by clicking on the "Experience the Outdoors" link.

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Tamaqua Area Chamber of Commerce Fish Derby is today from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Rabbit Run Reservoir, Tamaqua. Participants must register at the site.

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A fly fishing program will be presented by U.S. Youth Fly Fishing Team member Spenser Miller will be held today, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., at Cabela's, Hamburg.

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A Pennsylvania Game Commission Deer Management Open House is being held today, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the American Legion, 40 South Mahanoy St., Frackville.

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First Frontier Militia, the muzzleloader arm of Bowmanstown Rod and Gun Club, will hold muzzleloader shoots today, Sunday, May 9, June 13, July 11, Aug. 6, Sept. 12, Oct. 9 and 10, Nov. 14 and Dec. 12, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Bowmanstown Rod and Gun Club is located on Gun Club Road, off Route 248, Bowmanstown. For information, call Roger Fisher at 610-377-2812.

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A trap shoot will be held, Thursday, April 15, beginning at 6 p.m., at Orwigsburg Gun Club, Gun Club Road, off Route 443 East, Orwigsburg. For information, e-mail jafone@comcast.net.

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Seasons and bag limits for 2010-11 will be set by the Pennsylvania Game Commission board of game commissioners at its quarterly meeting, Monday and Tuesday, April 19-20, beginning at 8:30 a.m. both days, at agency headquarters, 2001 Elmerton Ave., off the Progress Avenue exit of Interstate 81, Harrisburg.

On Monday the board will hear public comments on the proposed hunting and furtaking seasons and bag limits that were given preliminary approval in January. Agency staff reports and updates will also be heard.

On Tuesday, the board is scheduled to take official action to finalize seasons and bag limits. Antlerless deer license allocations will also be set for the upcoming seasons.

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There will be a Second Amendment Rally in Washington, D.C., Monday, April 19, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Attendees will gather on the northeast corner of the Washington Monument grounds at 10 a.m., and the entire event will take place there.

The event is sponsored and coordinated by the organization "Second Amendment March," whose stated mission is, "to galvanize the courage and resolve of Americans; to petition our elected officials against establishing anti-gun legislation; and to remind America that the Second Amendment is necessary to maintain our right to self defense."

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Tubmill Trout Club will hold its statewide "Top Tom Spring Gobbler Hunt," Saturday, May 1-Monday, May 31, with the online registration deadline, Friday, April 30. For information, call the club at 724-235-9798 or access on the Web at www.tubmilltroutclub.org.

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This year's Empire State Lake Ontario Tournament dates have been announced. Here is the schedule: Spring, Friday, April 30-Sunday, May 9; Summer, Saturday, June 19-Sunday, July 18; Fall, Friday, Aug. 20-Monday, Sept. 6. For information and registration, access on the Web at www.loc.org or call (888) 733-5246.

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Locust Valley Fish and Game "Hunters Night Out" will be held, Saturday, May 8, beginning at 4 p.m. at Ryan Township Fire Company Hall, 945 Barnesville Drive, Barnsville. For information, call Dave Morgan at 570-467-3047.

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A "Native Plant Sale" will be held, Saturday and Sunday, May 15 and 16, at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, Kempton. For information and required registration, call the visitor center at 610-756-6961.