This article was featured in the May Edition of Camp Talk, our monthly newsletter for our members. We strongly suggesttaking the time to give this a good read.
BY JERRY BULLOCK, DSC MEMBER
Shane Mahoney’s column in the fall issue of Game Trails (reprinted from Sports Afield, and reprinted on pages 20-21 here) lays out the case for hunters as the hunter-citizen and the hunternaturalist. He explains we must become, again, a respected resource regarding wildlife sustainability and a source of knowledge and credibility to all who love wildlife and wild places.
The concern is what forces are we facing that contend we are none of these things and that all consumers of wildlife are enemies of wildlife and our activities must then be rendered illegal? Another question is what actions can we take to face these forces and educate those in the middle that haven’t abandoned us? Yet.
We must understand that most organizations touting anti-hunting are dishonestly duping that great expanse of uninformed people for their money. In the end, that is all these organizations do. They raise hundreds of millions of dollars and spend almost none of it for wildlife. Court cases and petition drives, yes. But nothing on the ground. This activity is a scam.
They are also liars that either ignore or deny the scientific, monetary and social truths about what must be done to see that wildlife still has a sustainable place in this world of burgeoning human population. They never recognize the “inconvenient” truth of the billions of dollars that hunters have generated, funding almost all wildlife conservation and recovery in the past century. No discussion is ever made of this truth or explanation of how those billions would be replaced from the general tax funds if hunting were to disappear. Wildlife conservation would be a long way down the list of the future priorities of increasingly urban-centric societies when compared to various human welfare, education, defense, and other favorite spending causes.
Our problem is we have no effective voice speaking to or educating those in-the-middle masses from which these dishonest organizations get their funding and their political clout. Yes, we have new-hunter recruitment programs in many of our organizations. We have education programs that educate a few dozen teachers yearly in wildlife management in the hope they will include what they have learned in their classes. There are many more programs − admirable ones. But the scale of the threat is far beyond the scale of the response we are currently marshalling. While we impact people effectively by the thousands, we must impact on a scale of tens of millions of people. And it must be worldwide.
Can’t we see the tsunami coming? The game has ramped up significantly in the last decade. New tactics are being employed where a relatively few people can destroy all of our wildlife conservation. Are we unaware of our enemy’s extremist end game? They state it clearly. A vegan asylum with no consumption of animal forms in any way. Polar bear hunting for all Americans was ended, and they are coming for elephants and lions as well as elephant and lion hunting by banning importation or listing as endangered species.
We have airlines eliminating the carrying of legal trophies back to the states. Hotels and entertainers backing out of long standing contracts with hunting organizations. If we stand around and brag about what little this harms us instead of looking forward toward the extrapolation of these actions into the future, we will be standing on the beach wondering why the ocean has suddenly receded a half mile. It means the tsunami is coming but for those on the beach, it is too late no matter what they do. We are almost there.
Would any of us complain about worldwide increases in hunting fees and licenses if it meant keeping hunting and wildlife? A model of how this works is the Pittman Robertson Act in the U.S. that collects an 11 percent tax on all hunting purchases, which is returned to the state wildlife agencies for conservation. Just last year, it totaled 1.1 billion dollars funding a large percentage of these departments. Worldwide, these funds would could total tens of millions of dollars, perhaps hundreds of millions of dollars. What could we do with that money?
The Humane Society of the United States alone raises over $100 million annually, and they are just one of our adversaries. Our future depends on our effective action.
We should create a worldwide organization, overseen by leading conservation organizations, to deliver an educational blitz to critical nations. We have the science, the economic and social facts on our side. We have our history of conservation. We need to use the press, all media, the schools, and other mechanisms to reach and educate citizens about the true historic and ongoing contribution of hunters and the destruction of wildlife that would follow if these anti hunters reach their goals. Does Kenya come to anyone’s mind? This must be an information blitz not seen in the world before.
We must not quarrel over the details. We have nothing now. Almost any effort would be better than nothing. Our future depends on our effective action. How would any hunting business reply to such a fundraising campaign? If they don’t respond positively, they must not understand the threat. CT
For just the facts—member news, hunting reports, the latest legislation that affects you—turn to Camp Talk. This monthly bulletin is distributed to all U.S. members and advertisers. For an online version of the latest edition, visit the online page here.