Anti-Hunting Success In CA Affects All Hunters

May 31, 2012

“Where California leads, the rest of the nation soon follows.”

That aphorism holds true in many areas, from fashion to technology.  CA is a big state, with a big population, and a lot of very innovative and creative minds.  But not all of that creativity is necessarily a good thing.  For example, the creative minds of the anti-hunting lobby, and some of the lies and mistruths they come up with to steer the general public, and the state’s politicians toward their way of thinking.  The most recent example was the successful campaign to ban hunting bear and bobcats with dogs.

I was remiss in my own coverage of this issue, in large part because I had a lot of other things on my plate.  I was just “too busy.”  I can’t fight every battle.  No excuses, just explanation… I’m not a houndsman, and I’m not well-versed on the issues that I thought were at hand.  So, like many other hunters who “weren’t involved”, I sort of let it play out.  I didn’t even read the stacks and stacks of emails I received on the topic, either from the anti-hunting side (I’m on several of their mailing lists) or the pro-hunting side.  As a result, I missed out on some pretty glaring bullshit and lies.

Could I have made a difference?  Probably not… or at least not on my own.  But if all the hunters who didn’t think they’d be affected, or those who were just too busy to get informed or involved, had taken the time to pay attention, contact their elected officials, and spread the word… this may well have turned out differently. 

The US Sportsman’s Association (USSA) didn’t put their heads in the sand, however, and they were pretty involved and vocal to try to rally hunters against this bill.  Their success, unfortunately, was limited.  But the failure to stop the campaign doesn’t mean this is over, and the USSA just posted a pretty sharp blog post to explain why hunters all over the country should be concerned about the anti-hunters’ victory in CA, and even moreso, about the deceitful tactics used to achieve that success.

Here are a couple of examples:

 3)     Misleading Facts – The Number of States That Allow Hound Hunting:
The bill’s author likes to point out that 2/3rds of the U.S. doesn’t allow bear hunting with hounds.  That’s a nice sound bite, but the truth of the matter is 18 states don’t even have a huntable population of bears!  Of the 32 states that hunt bear, 18 allow the use of dogs – nearly 60%.   Of the states with more than 2,000 bears – 16 of 23 allow you to use dogs – 70%.  The anti’s argument would be akin to arguing for a ban on elk hunting in California because Ohio doesn’t allow it (Nevermind the fact that Ohio doesn’t have Elk!).

4)     Pictures – GPS collars

This one is another favorite of the animal rights lobby.  In California, they are sending packets of information to each legislators office that include things they claim are unsightly deeds such as dogs wearing GPS collars, which they claim prevents hunting bear hunting from being a fair chase.  What they don’t tell you, is that GPS collars are already ILLEGAL in California.  The pictures they are using are from another state all-together.

The point is pretty clear.  America’s hunters need to start paying closer attention to the efforts of these anti-hunting organizations, and to start challenging the lies of our opponents with facts.  We need to be involved, even when we don’t think the issue involves us, because the truth is, every successful strike against hunting chisels away at the foundation of our sport. 

As the number of hunters continues to decline, what little political clout we may have once held dwindles as well.  And as more and more people are exposed to prejudicial lies and misinformation, the public support we once held is also weakened.  It doesn’t paint a pretty picture for the future. 

So here’s the question.  How do we make a difference?  What will it take for America’s hunters to counter the tactics of the anti-hunters and animal rights organizations?  Or is our sport, in the long run, doomed?


One Response to “Anti-Hunting Success In CA Affects All Hunters”

  1. Neil H on June 1st, 2012 20:36

    …and so far, no comments, but that sure is a heckova truck. (It is, by the way.)

    If people really understood the nuanced but blatant way that certain animal “rights” organizations are misrepresenting the truth but more importantly, reframing the whole conversation about hunting they would be freaking out. The way I see this issue represented in the press concerns me. Phrases slipped into news articles like “hunters vs. conservationists are in a fight over this”. Ah yes, because they have saved nearly as many acres of wetlands as Ducks unlimited, right? They are slick, and their PR people have become the automatic go-to people on any “wildlife” issue. They trot out phrases like “trophy bear hunting”,or “guys sitting in their truck with dogs following on GPS (illegal and not true)”. And the sad fact is they have a potent, well funded PR machine that exploits the misrepresentation of their real mission amongst the general public and even most of their donors, and if we are apathetic we will wake up with no rights.

    I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. Unless we direct the public conversation about hunting, it will be directed for us. The food movement is the perfect segue to this, and contradicts the cartoon character straw men they are building. The media love to quote Ted Nugent for a reason. We have alternative faces, like Steve Rinella, Hank Shaw, Holly, Tovar Cerelli, Jackson Landers, Posewitz, Eric Nuse, (and yes, you Phillip) and more that are gaining traction and that’s good. But also each and every person that hunts or fishes is an ambassador that has a responsibility to represent our rights and history to the general public in a way that carries our traditions onward.

    You’ve all heard the term “freedom isn’t free”? Well, it isn’t.