Craig, I agree, but what do you propose for fighting this fight? I'm all for education and public relations, and do my best through my writing, my blog, and my personal interactions. Keep in mind that you'll never change the minds of the zealots, so it's critical to focus our efforts on the non-committed.
That is a good question. First off all sportsman need to unite. There is way too much in-fighting among hunters. Just because someone chooses to hunt a certain way does not make them a bad hunter because they choose a different method of hunting. The "Black Gun" issue is a prime example. Another example is the loss of dove hunting in Michigan recently. There were actually hunters who voted to ban dove hunting just because they didn't hunt doves. Apathy is also a huge problem. We are playing right into the hands of PETA and the humane society.I believe that if we as hunters want to protect our hunting privileges we need to start educating the non-hunting public about our hunting activities and what we do for wildlife. Without the support of the non-hunting public we will be doomed when it comes to voting on important issues. The animal rights people are a small percentage of the people in this country and I believe that the average person would be on our side if they knew the truth. Personally, I feel that there should be a national organization solely dedicated to educating US citizens about the benefits of hunting and to show them what our money does for wildlife. If people knew what the condition of our national wildlife would be in without our money I think we would have a fighting chance. I can't think of another group of people, that put their money where their mouth is when it comes to wildlife conservation, than the sportsman.
Well said Craig.Being from Michigan myself I was outraged that hunters would vote against the dove bill. They had the mentality that just because they didn't hunt them specifically that it didn't effect them. Wrong! Once they get one thing voted down such as the dove bill they will just proceed on down the line to their next target-bear baiting, bowhunting, etc.I couldn't agree more with a national organization to educate people about hunting. Sounds like a great idea. I also think more local organizations need to be active against issues such as these. The NRA and such groups can't do everything!I recently joined a local organization here in Michigan just because of that reason!Sorry about the ramble. Great tips on your site!
I agree 100% with what you're saying, Craig (no surprise). It's where I've been coming from for a long time. In national surveys, the majority of non-hunters are usually either neutral or supportive of hunting. However, their perception is that they have nothing to lose either way, which means that it doesn't take much to sway them against it. A tragic accident, or a wave of PR and propaganda from the anti-hunting fringe can swing those non-hunters' votes against us in less time than it takes to change the TV channel or flip the page of the newspaper.This is why we, hunters, need to work hard to keep our own actions above-board, and police our ranks so that game law and ethics violators are brought to ground quickly. I'd also like to see some public relations/education campaign on a national level to combat the negative propaganda of the anti-hunting front. However, such a campaign would require a ton of funding, because you can be sure the antis would counter-attack with their own, well-funded campaign. The NRA gives lip service to their commitment to hunters (and yes, I am a life member), but seldom do they go much above that. The NSSF does a little bit, but their focus is primarily in the industry and not so much with the public. How do we motivate these large organizations (the only groups that do have the funding) to step out and help promote the hunting heritage to the public? I'd like to help, but where and how?
Maybe a new effort should be started to form an organization dedicated solely to educating the non-hunting public about the good that sportsman do. Can you imagine the impact that a 1/2 hour TV show during prime time would have. My vision would be to have a show that showed what it would be like if there where no hunters and none of the hunters money that is currently used for wildlife conservation. I just wish I knew how something like this could be done.
Craig that is an awesome perspective, Hunters need to unite and not take out their frustration on each other. If it isn't for us who is going to stick up for our rights and interests. The NRA is pro gun but semi pro hunter. I see the infighting all the time on NODAK outdoors were people are bad mouthing other hunter becasue some like to field hunt for ducks and others like to hunt water. not...
Hunters are making a tremendous impact and conservation groups throughout the country are fighting the fight for hunters all across the country but they are all hurting for funds and doing more with less since 9/11. My biggest encouragement is to get out there and donate capital and volunteer your time to raise funds for these organizations to help them continue the fight
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