In the fight we face to hang on to the right to hunt and fish we now have new enemies. Unfortunately, among them are many of the state wildlife agencies which the sportsmen of this country worked so hard to found 75 to 100 years ago, and which those same sportsmen have financially supported through the years.
Following is an open letter/e-mail sent to Bass Pro Shops C.E.O. Johnny Morris, warning him of the dangers that lie ahead when members of the shooting-hunting-fishing industry openly support those agencies and organizations with a new non-consumptive agenda.
Has the time come to withhold Pittman-Robertson Funds from those state agencies which have strayed from the intent of the Pittman-Robertson Act…and the intent of the sportsmen who founded and supported those agencies?
Have you ever taken the time to sit down and read the legislation which established the Pittman-Robertson Act?
One line reads… “laws for the conservation of wildlife which shall include a prohibition against the diversion of license fees paid by hunters for any other purpose than the administration of said State fish and game department…”
The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies is one of the “conservation organizations” which you are now strongly involved with – and an organization which no longer follows the intent of Pittman-Robertson, or for that matter the intent of sportsmen when state game and fish agencies were being established 75 to 100 years ago. The new agenda of AFWA is to heavily promote the non-consumptive use of non-hunted and non-fished wildlife, technically illegally using monies provided by sportsmen – such as monies provided through the sales of hunting and fishing licenses, and the excise taxes collected on hunting and fishing equipment for the sole purpose of improving GAME and FISH habitat, and building healthy populations of GAME and FISH for consumptive harvest.
The AFWA news release published at this link may appear to stick another “Feather for Conservation” in the Bass Pro Shops hat, but does it really? The sportsmen of this country are now feeling extremely used by organizations and agencies with a whole new agenda – to eliminate hunting and fishing. The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies is one organization/association/band of thieves now in the crosshairs. Following is a link to another release of an entirely different color…
Is this the direction our “game departments” will continue to take? Following is a link to an article that emphatically says that it is…
This summer the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, against the wishes of the vast majority of those who hunt and fish in that state (and who are your customers), held a train wreck known as the “Wildlife Summit”. The intent of that three-days of manipulation (using the Delphi Technique) by professional moderators and carefully selected speakers, plus a number of plants in the audience, was to make the sportsmen of the state feel good about that agency seeking funding from non-hunting and non-fishing groups, and even the same anti-hunting organizations which have allowed a glut of predators to destroy the past 50 to 75 years of big game conservation in Idaho.
The very same Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies which you support, and which recently awarded you their “Citizen Conservationist of the Year” award, is very much behind this movement. Every time you look at the award handed you, I hope you take a minute to reflect on what it has and will continue to cost Bass Pro Shops – and what your support of using the money provided by hunters and fishermen to fund non-consumptive wildlife management will cost the sportsmen and sportswomen of this country.
Let’s get back to the practices and management which rewarded us with the bounty of wildlife we enjoyed through the 1980s and 1990s. It is time for a real division between “Game & Fish” and “Wildlife”. If the non-consumptive watchable wildlife crowd, bird watchers, nature photographers, hikers, etc. feel a need to support that area of outdoor recreation, then it is also time for every state to establish an entirely separate Department of Wildlife, which should be funded entirely with monies OTHER than what sportsmen spend on hunting and fishing licenses, or by the excise taxes collected on firearms, ammunition, archery gear or fishing tackle. Sportsman dollars should be used entirely and exclusively for improving habitat for harvestable fish and game, and to promote those consumptive outdoor sports.
The sportsmen of this country have tired of being used, and there will be an ever growing call for the elimination of Pittman-Robertson funds being distributed to any state agency that takes on a non-consumptive agenda.