It’s election time again and like most of us, you’ve probably been awash in a sea of campaign ads and pundit opinions. With all of the national, state and local issues, the promises, the attacks and counter attacks, the process can seem a bit overwhelming.
While it’s true that our ability to vote is both a duty and a privilege, it is also true that these midterm elections are pivotal for hunters and shooters. Despite their claims to the contrary, the current administration has proven that hunters in particular are the primary targets of arbitrary policy decisions, siding with virulent anti-hunting organizations who cite hearsay and anecdotal evidence to sway federal agencies. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ban on elephant imports from Tanzania and Zimbabwe in April is a prime example. While the decision on its surface will affect a small percentage of hunters, the bigger concern is the total lack of consideration the USFWS paid to the actual science presented to them and how they ignored the concerns of the countries directly affected by their decision.
Attacks on bear hunting in Maine, closed door policy making and restrictive measures within the California State Fish and Game Commission, the tacit allowances of the Federal Government have strengthened the anti-hunting groups and left our hunting heritage in real danger.
We owe it to our sport and our future generations to vote not only our conscious, but our conviction to ensure our legacy is untouched. While you perform your due diligence on the campaigns and issues, focus on the candidates who share your passion for the hunt, your views on the ability to protect yourself and your family. We may never be among the fortunate few who have the pleasure of stalking prey on the savannah, but hunting in general is a large stone. The more bits of that stone that are chipped away by apathy and inaction the closer we get to a complete loss of what makes us – us.–Randy Gibbs