By Nick Pinizzotto, USSA President and CEO
Columbus, OH --(Ammoland.com)- I am starting to get a real edge to me. Actually, I’m flat out angry.
For much of my life I cruised along as an outdoorsman that was simply focused on where the next hunting or fishing trip would be, or what new piece of gear I would save up money to buy.
For most people who have hobbies or deep interests in something, they can focus their time and energy on enjoying it without constantly looking over their shoulder for someone trying to take it away from them.
If you’re an American outdoorsman, you do not have that luxury.
It’s my job at U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA) to lead the fight against the bad guys. Primarily the bad guys include anti-hunting organizations and animal rights extremists. I love my work and consider it a great responsibility, but to be honest, I wish I didn’t have to do it. I wish that we could just be left alone to enjoy our outdoor lifestyles without the constant attacks designed to take away our way of life because someone doesn’t agree with it. All I wanted to do last night after returning home from a business trip was read my hunting magazines and catch up on current events within the outdoor industry. Instead I had to deal with anti-hunting initiatives being advanced in several places across the country.
Yes, I am complaining. I am not complaining about my job, however. I am complaining about having to waste time that should be spent on enjoying the outdoor traditions that have shaped my life because of a segment of society that is not only misinformed, but radical to the point of valuing the lives of animals more than humans.
I am scared that the average outdoorsman doesn’t really understand just how dangerous the situation is becoming, and how we may be closer to losing our hunting rights than maintaining them.
Just a few of the issues we’re working on as I type this include:
- the attempt to eliminate all types of hunting with dogs in California;
- ensuring that the management of Great Lakes wolves in Michigan is handled by the state’s wildlife management agency;
- lawsuits dealing with wolf management on both a federal level and in Wisconsin;
- more than 100 dog-related bills that could have a profound impact on hunting dog owners;
- protection of sound bear hunting practices in Maine;
- infiltration of state wildlife commissions across the country by anti-hunting interests;
- the attempted elimination of mountain lion hunting in Nebraska despite the clear need defined by the state’s wildlife management agency;
- formal education of everyone from elementary school children to aspiring attorneys by anti-hunting interests; and
- a new anti-trapping bill in New Hampshire.
Sadly, this is just the tip of the iceberg and there are undoubtedly dozens of other issues that we don’t even know about. There are also other issues that we are aware of that we just don’t have the money or time to pursue.
I hope if you are reading this that you take a moment to pass it along or simply think about just how threatened our cherished outdoor endeavors are thanks to a group of people who simply don’t agree with our chosen lifestyles. Yes, they are boldly walking into our front doors and telling us how to live our lives. I know that everyone’s time is limited and we want to spend it enjoying hunting, fishing and trapping. I am asking you to please just dedicate a small percentage of that time on helping to protect our outdoor heritage by being aware of the issues, and by being ready when called upon to fight for what you believe in.
I am going to make time to catch up on a few of my favorite hunting magazines and I might even try to do some coyote hunting this afternoon. I hope the next piece I write is something you’ll enjoy. I wish everything I write could be.
About:The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance is a national association of sportsmen and sportsmen’s organizations that protects the rights of hunters, anglers and trappers in the courts, legislatures, at the ballot, in Congress and through public education programs. Visit www.ussportsmen.org.