WASHINGTON, D.C. — California hunters are outraged over Senate Bill 1221 because they know that it’s not really about banning bear and bobcat hunting with hounds. It’s about banning all hunting. How do we know? The folks behind the bill told us so.
The story behind SB 1221 is everything that is wrong with politics today. It’s even about political retribution. Here’s the proof:
Senator Ted Lieu, the author of SB 1221, disclosed in a March 22 press release that the effort to ban hound hunting was sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). HSUS, the world’s largest anti-hunting organization, is a multi-million dollar fundraising machine that does not operate dog or cat shelters as its name might imply, but instead seeks to change laws that permit people to hunt, raise livestock for food, use animals for life saving medical research, etc. They claim to only oppose the most “egregious” forms of hunting, but their record tells another story.
Here are real examples of the HSUS agenda:
It’s Not Just About Bears: They Oppose All Hunting with Dogs: In 2003, HSUS championed California AB 342, to ban all hound hunting. This would have stopped one of the most effective means of controlling raccoon populations, which can carry rabies, as well as coyotes, which increasingly cause trouble in suburban areas. Realizing they lacked the votes to pass that bill, they failed in a last minute desperation move to limit the proposal to just bears.
It’s Not Just About Hunting Bears with Dogs: They Oppose All Bear Hunting: In California, HSUS is saying that the problem is hunting bears with hounds. The truth is they oppose all bear hunting. HSUS opposed efforts in Maryland and New Jersey to open bear hunting seasons to control over population--neither of which included hunting with hounds. In California, they have adamantly opposed the past two efforts of the Department of Fish and Game to raise the annual bear harvest quota to control exploding populations of bears.
It’s Not Just About Bears or Dogs: They Oppose Bird Hunting: In 2003, HSUS advocated for legislation to ban mourning dove hunting in California. Mourning doves, the nation’s number one game bird, are hunted in 41 states. Hunting has no impact on their population. HSUS also holds the closing of pheasant clubs as one of their absolute top priorities.
It’s Not Just About Bears, Dogs, or Birds: They Oppose Hunting on Sundays: HSUS is opposing legislation in Pennsylvania to allow Sunday hunting. California is one of 39 states that permit people the freedom to choose which days they hunt.
It’s Not Just About Bears, Dogs, Birds or Sundays: They Oppose Bowhunting: HSUS and the Fund for Animals, which merged in 2005, oppose bowhunting despite its usefulness at controlling white-tailed deer numbers in urban and suburban areas. Bowhunting has been shown to be safe in higher populated areas and an effective method of hunting.
It’s Not Just About Bears, Dogs, Birds, Sundays or Bowhunting: They Oppose Youth Hunting: HSUS opposes efforts to get more young people outdoors and into hunting. It has been the leading opponent of apprentice hunting licenses, which have successfully introduced newcomers to hunting under the supervision of an experienced mentor. Accident numbers show apprentice hunters are the safest in the woods.
HSUS: They Oppose All Hunting: It may be hard to believe that an organization opposes all hunting. But the Humane Society of the United States does. Their CEO, Wayne Pacelle, learned the ropes working for the Fund for Animals, which was founded to abolish all hunting. He left to run HSUS’s government affairs shop, later rising to CEO in 2004.
HSUS later merged with the Fund for Animals and hired its senior staff, including ardent opponents of hunting, Michael Markarian and Heidi Prescott - veterans of efforts to ban hunting across the United States.
HSUS Agenda in Their Own Words:
“As a matter of principle, The HSUS opposes the hunting of any living creature for fun, trophy, or sport because of the animal trauma, suffering, and death that result. A humane society should not condone the killing of any sentient creature in the name of sport.” HSUS Statement on Wild Animals, March 2012. http://www.humanesociety.org/about/policy_statements/statement_wild_animals.html
“We are going to use the ballot box and the democratic process to stop all hunting in the United States … We will take it species by species until all hunting is stopped in California. Then we will take it state by state.” Wayne Pacelle, HSUS Senior VP, formerly of Fund for Animals. Full Cry Magazine, October 1, 1990.
“If we could shut down all sport hunting in a moment, we would.” Wayne Pacelle, HSUS Senior VP, formerly of Fund for Animals. Associated Press, Dec 30, 1991.
What Caused HSUS to Target California Hunters? Revenge. The evidence is clear: HSUS is out to ban all hunting. But what triggered the attack on hunters in California? The LA Times suggests political payback. In the March 26th article “Controversial cougar kill spawns proposed ban on hunting with dogs,” Times reporter Patrick McGreevy wrote, “Unable to get a Fish and Game official to resign for killing a mountain lion outside the state, two lawmakers on Monday introduced legislation that would prohibit the use of dogs to hunt bear and bobcat in California.”
The official is Daniel Richards, president of the Fish and Game Commission, who went on a legal mountain lion hunt in Idaho, where he was successful. Outraged anti-hunting groups, led by HSUS, persuaded 40 California legislators to call for Richards’s resignation over the hunt. Sportsmen had the “audacity” to rally to his rescue, pouring calls and letters into the legislature, which finally abandoned its attempt to remove the commissioner in March.
Now it appears that that the anti-hunting lobby, and the politicians they work with, are seeking payback. And that payback is in the form of taking hunting rights away from California hunters.
Managing Wildlife Through Revenge? California’s method of conserving wildlife is based on the North American model of wildlife management, in which hunting and fishing license fees fund professional biologists who set seasons, bag limits and methods of hunting. The system is deliberately set up to be insulated from the partisan political squabbles that are common in the capitol.
Political Tricks Used to Hide Hunting Ban: Senate Bill 1221 was originally an air quality bill. But since the deadline to introduce new proposals had already passed, anti-hunting legislators removed the original language and dropped in new language banning the use of hounds to hunt bears and bobcats.
This move took place late in the process to prevent sportsmen from having time to organize and explain that hunters are being paid back by anti-hunting legislators for having the nerve to defend the right of a fellow hunter to go hunting.
Hunters Must Call On Senators to Defeat SB 1221: It’s clear – SB 1221 is not just about hunting bears and bobcats with hounds. It’s about revenge. It’s about slick political maneuvers. It’s about everything that is wrong with our government today. Senate Bill 1221 is just the next step on their crusade to ban all hunting.
California hunters are rightly outraged. But anger is not enough. Senators need to hear from sportsmen today asking them to vote NO on SB 1221. The bill is set for its first hearing in Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee on April 24th. Call or fax your Senator today – find their contact info at www.ussportsmen.org/CA or a sample letter at www.outdoorheritage.org.
Join the fight on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ProtectCaHoundHunting
Editor's Note: Rob Sexton is senior vice president of the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, which defends the rights of American sportsmen and women. For more information visit ussportsmen.org.