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Opinion
Text: The editorial voice of the Mountain Lion Foundation.

9/17/2009

They Just Don't Get it!

Jack Husted, the newest member of Arizona's Game and Fish Commission is a perfect example of what is wrong with most state wildlife commissions. In a recent commission hearing Mr. Husted voiced "trepidation about the ultimate goal or ultimate desire of some of these organizations that expound on the wonderful things in a non-hunter environment."

That is the crux of the matter. Most state wildlife commissions address the world in terms of Hunter versus Non-hunter viewpoints and automatically dismiss any non-hunting perspective as being flights of fancy unworthy of consideration-or possibly worse, alarm.

What's more they and their hunter constituents believe that they are the only ones who should have a say in the matter because inevitably the commissions and their accompanying state wildlife agencies are funded by proceeds generated through the sale of hunting tags, licenses, and from taxes collected on the sale of hunting equipment.

Comments such as: . . . "As usual, it is you, the hunter conservationist, who generates the most revenue for wildlife conservation and management." or . . . "So, the next time you see a herd of elk near Flagstaff, or antelope in the open plains of Prescott, or if you're lucky to spot a desert bighorn sheep peering down from a cliff in the desolate desert, remember to thank a hunter -wildlife's original conservationists." Are just two example of the hubris displayed by hunting associations.

And statements to the affect that America's wildlife was saved by the institution of regulated hunting practices, only means that state governments reined in the unsustainable killing habits of hunters and doesn't take into consideration that non-hunters were already saving wildlife by not hunting them in the first place.

There are more American's who do not support sport-hunting activities than there are who do, but because of the way the current system is structured the non-hunting constituents have little or no say in the matter, and their own financial contributions towards wilderness and wildlife protection are belittled or ignored by the Powers-That-Be.

On the whole, the state wildlife commissions don't get it, and they never will. America's wildlands and the animals which inhabit them are there for everyone to enjoy, and should be governed accordingly. State wildlife commissions need to be restructured to better reflect the vast diversity found in America today. Diversity not just on an ethnic or rural versus urban level, but also diversity in ideals and moral values as well.



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