Opinion: New Threats to Hunting Linger

"Fewer hunters means less power and influence, which means we lose and they win.”

Opinion: New Threats to Hunting Linger

Anti-hunters continue to do whatever they can to stop all hunting everywhere — forever. Although this is nothing new, it is something that none of us can allow ourselves to forget. Here are some examples.

New York Assembly Bill 2917 and Senate Bill 4099 would prohibit competitions or contests in which certain animals are harvested. These types of events, which are legal and regulated hunting, are typically geared toward coyotes. The Senate version (SB 4099) passed in June and will be eligible for reconsideration in 2024 when the legislature reconvenes.

Then at the end of July, three organizations legally challenged the cancellation of a phase-out of lead ammunition use at Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge in West Virginia. Those three organizations are National Wildlife Refuge Association, Friends of Blackwater and Sierra Club.

Also in July, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources instated an order prohibiting the use of traditional lead-based ammunition in all state Scientific and Natural Areas (SNAs) that allow hunting. The ban also includes several state parks and other SNA’s that hold special hunting events — 56 affected properties in total.

Quickly, Federal Ammunition joined the fray with an open letter to Commissioner Sarah Strommen of the Minnesota DNR, asking for the state to reverse its decision.

“Minnesota DNR policy should focus on maintaining and growing hunting opportunities for all, not catering to the opinions of the extremes,” wrote Jason Vanderbrink, president and CEO of the Sporting Products section of Vista Outdoors, Federal’s parent company. “This DNR decision was made in isolation — no alternative viewpoints or stakeholder perspectives considered. An issue as important as this should have full transparency as well as stakeholder input and should be determined through the legislative process and not via agency directives. Constituents have no recourse and therefore cannot hold anyone accountable at the ballot box.”

The point here is that anti-hunters are active on all fronts, doing everything they can to throw a monkey wrench into the gears and stop hunting. The more complicated and expensive they can make hunting, the dimmer the future is because it will act as a barrier for future generations as it imposes financial hardships on us in the meantime.

In addition to the individual legislative and legal actions being taken by groups of antis and government entities large and small, it is crucial that we keep our eyes on the big picture. I’m talking about the overarching actions that, in combination, affect the very future of hunting itself.

Never forget that they, the anti-hunters and their lackeys, the unfeeling bureaucrats and unprincipled elected and appointed officials, really don’t like us and what we do. The antis literally hate us, but they don’t have any direct way to stop us. They do, however, have a tremendous number of indirect ways to subvert society itself, leaving us in the dust as a result. In addition to practicing blood sports, we also represent the traditions and culture that have made the country great. They hate that because they want to upend everything we do and all that we stand for.

They play the long game, chipping away bit by bit, knowing that over time, they tighten the thumbscrews in ways that eventually will put us out of business. Every victory for them, no matter how small, takes them that much closer to domination. And domination is not too strong of a word because they want to dictate what we can and cannot do. To them we are a bunch of sub-humans who should be banished from the earth. But between now and then, they want to inflict as much pain and suffering on us as possible.

The Biden administration has appointed anti-hunters to critical government positions where they can adversely affect hunting and weaken the social base in the process. And as the base fades, so does the power and influence that predator hunters may have had.

In previous issues of Predator Xtreme, we have reported on their efforts to close vast expanses of public land to hunting. And more recently, they are taking steps to limit the kinds of ammunition we can use to hunt on huge plots of public land. Most notable are the bans on using lead bullets or shot under the guise of saving the environment. We know that the points they make are lies, but that doesn’t stop them from doing everything they can to force their will upon us.

Even anglers are among their targets, because the antis are trying to ban the use of lead for fishing tackle, as well. The net result of these efforts for hunters and anglers is that the cost of pursuing our passions goes up dramatically. Although that might not keep us out of the wilds immediately, it easily can price would-be hunters from becoming hunters. Long term, fewer hunters means less power and influence, which means we lose and they win.

The problem for predator hunters is that it is not a simple win/lose “game.” It’s for all the marbles and when we lose, we can lose it all — everything and forever. Yet hunters do have some champions in the halls of Congress, such as Rep. Rob Whittman, (R-VA), who introduced HR 615, called the Protecting Access for Hunters and Anglers Act. The measure bars the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture from prohibiting or regulating the use of lead ammunition or tackle on federal land or water that is under the jurisdiction of such departments and made available for hunting or fishing. Sen. Steve Daines, (R-MT), introduced S 1185, which is Senate companion legislation with nearly identical language.

Hunters and our allies are fighting back and will continue to do so. Meanwhile, the more time, effort and money that individual hunters can contribute to the cause, the more effective these efforts can be. The future is in our hands right now. Stand up and win or sit back and lose. It’s that simple.


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