In my last blog, I expressed the wish that hunting organizations would become more visibly proactive about getting our own house in order. In our reluctance to condemn those irresponsible hunters who ignore game laws, who poach, who hunt private property without permission, and who help give all hunters a bad name, we often relinquish the high ground to the HSUS, an organization that would ban all hunting in a moment if they could.
That organization seems always to be visibly coming to the rescue of abused game animals before we do. My example—perhaps not the best example I could have chosen—was the HSUS matching funds with the California Department of Fish and Game to fund cash rewards for turning in poachers.
Almost in answer to my hope, an Associated Press article just this week reported that the California Houndsmen for Conservation offered to replace and increase the HSUS donation to the California Fish and Game agency if the latter would return the money to the HSUS.
Playing catchup to the HSUS in curbing legitimate* abuses may be a small step in the right direction, but we need to get there first. Amongst our increasingly sensitized populations, hunters need to win the hearts and minds of our neighbors. We need to be perceived as sportsmen in deed as well as in name.
Posted November 17, 2011
*One commenter on my original blog argued that this California example was not a legitimate abuse of game laws, but rather that the game laws were an abuse of hunting rights. In California, that may well be so.