U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- In a move that is alarming hunters in Oregon and beyond that Northwest state's borders, a gubernatorial nominee to the state Fish & Wildlife Commission has been bounced from consideration by a state Senate committee because, according to Oregon Live, “environmental advocates raised concerns over his history as a big game hunter and potential conflicts of interest.”
There is more than just a hint of social prejudice against James Nash, now retired from the U.S. Marine Corps and working as a rancher and guide in Eastern Oregon. He posted some images of past hunts in Africa where he legally shot what was reportedly a man-eating crocodile and a charging hippo. Apparently because of that and their concerns about his possible influence on management decisions, Beaver State environmentalists don’t want him on a commission responsible for management of wildlife, including wolves.
According to Oregon Live, “Environmentalists also took issue with his relationship to Todd Nash, his father, who serves as Treasurer of the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association, an industry group that frequently comes before the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) to argue for looser restrictions on when wolves can be killed for attacking livestock.”
Perhaps those environmentalists would like Nash to sever relations with his father.
Veteran Portland Oregonian outdoor writer Bill Monroe noted in a column about this apparent outrage of political correctness, “Photos of his hippo and crocodile kills triggered an unfair rush to judgment of a man who, after medical retirement from the Marines, dedicated his life to the environment, river restoration, responsible range management and teaching others to hunt and fish.”
Anti-gun Sen. Ginny Burdick, a Portland Democrat who has been in office for more than two decades, chairs the committee that was scheduled to consider nominees to various commissions in Salem. OregonLive said a Burdick “spokesman” stated that Nash’s nomination “would not be moving forward, but did not comment further.”
A Wikipedia biography of Burdick says the senator “is one of the Legislature’s leading advocates for gun safety legislation.” That’s what some Second Amendment activists call “camo-speak” for being a gun control proponent.
The irony of environmentalists blocking the nomination of a veteran and lifelong outdoorsman to serve on the Fish & Wildlife commission—which is responsible for setting hunting and fishing seasons and regulations—seems overwhelming.
Leupold, the Oregon-based optics firm, has done a video about Nash that can be found on YouTube, titled “Resilient to the Core: The Story of Captain James Nash.” In it, Nash narrates some of his experiences as a Marine in Afghanistan, and talks about his life in Oregon. He’s a soft-spoken fellow who expresses his thoughts matter-of-factly, and the 7 1/2-minute video is both insightful and introspective. Some might even call it inspirational.
But that didn’t prevent some critical media about Nash. Willamette Weekly writer Nigel Jaquiss began a story about Nash back on April 24 with this line: “James Nash is good at killing exotic animals.” The article said environmental groups felt “betrayed” by Democrat Gov. Kate Brown, apparently claiming that their attitudes are shared by a majority of Oregonians. Eight of those groups reportedly sent a letter to Brown last month opposing Nash. The groups included Oregon Wild, Defenders of Wildlife, the Center for Biological Diversity, and the Audubon Society of Portland.
Jaquiss said environmental groups were worried about “a specific conflict over the reintroduction of wolves into Oregon and, more generally, the question of whether hunters' and ranchers' desire to benefit from public lands should outweigh the wishes of Oregonians who favor the preservation of the state's natural areas for wildlife habitat and recreational use.”
Hunting is a “recreational use” of public land, and it is enjoyed by tens of thousands of people in Oregon. It brings millions of dollars into the Oregon economy, including necessary funds for ODFW fish and game management, plus the annual apportionment to Oregon from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s federal aid to wildlife fund, commonly known as the Pittman-Robertson fund. This money comes from a special federal excise tax on firearms and ammunition. For Fiscal year 2019, Oregon is getting more than $16 million from the program, according to a USFWS news release.
Still, the agency appears caught in a war of changing demographics and an unfulfilled expectation among environmentalists that Gov. Brown would “change the culture at the top of her fish and wildlife agency,” according to Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB).
Except that it’s not Brown’s agency, it is a public agency, and the part of the public that pays the freight for fish and wildlife management are “hook and bullet” folks, who just might take the controversy over Nash personally. The Senate committee’s action with Burdick at the helm will likely not be forgotten.
About Dave Workman