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Perspective: Anti Hunter Groups

Perspective: Anti hunter groups use Fish & Game Commission to support their agenda

BY STEVEN CHILD/Special to Western Outdoor NewsPublished: Dec 06, 2017

Finally! A conservation group — The Boone & Crockett Club — is standing up for predator hunting! Recently, in a joint effort by Project Coyote and The Humane Society of The U.S. (HSUS), the two groups created a toolkit full of misleading and flat out false information about coyotes and the role predator hunting plays as a tool in the conservation toolbox.

In it, these groups claimed “Wildlife killing contests, which target coyotes, foxes, bobcats, or even prairie dogs and pigeons, are grisly spectacles that are about as far as one can get from ethical, fair-chase hunting,” misquoting The Boone & Crockett club in order to make it appear as though they share the same position as animal rights groups Project Coyote and HSUS.


On Oct. 24, 2017, The Boone & Crockett Club made their position clear by posting a response on the front page of their website. “We don’t know if HSUS is uninformed or merely attempting to blur the lines to sway public opinion, but trying to make it sound like the Club and sportsmen are against such contests because the methods used aren’t considered fair chase shows a misunderstanding of the principles of fair chase, which were initiated more than 130 years ago by the Club’s founder, Theodore Roosevelt.”


The bulk of the public is unaware these groups are known for cherry picking information to support their anti hunting views. They make claims that coyotes “self regulate” and “killing coyotes, creates more coyotes” despite the studies written by the biologists on their own “Science Advisory Board.”


They file lawsuits claiming hunters are required to obtain permits if hunting takes place on public lands while participating in a contest despite case law that has already decided the issue. Or claiming hunting violates their rights and ability to view wildlife, in violation of the public trust doctrine, forgetting that sportsmen and women are part of the same public that has been pouring money into conservation for decades, long before these groups that only spend money on lobbying came around.


I don’t think its coincidence this misinformation toolkit surfaced as the Predator Policy Workgroup was asked to wind down and make its final recommendations to the upcoming California Fish & Game Commission meeting.


This workgroup was the brainchild of various activist groups seeking to “fix inconsistencies in the code” along with creating an overall predator policy for the state. We’ve seen what uncontrolled mountain lions are doing to the states deer and sheep populations. Allowing special interest groups like The Humane Society, Project Coyote and the Center for Biological Diversity to make wildlife policy recommendations? What could possibly go wrong?


These groups use misinformation (like this toolkit) as a weapon, knowing they make up a vocal minority and need the public’s support to push their agenda. Another example of this is happening right now in Arizona as HSUS is gathering signatures to place a petition on the ballot to ban hunting of mountain lions and bobcats, taking wildlife management away from Arizona Game and Fish and their biologists.


The statewide ban on bobcat trapping using live cage traps (AB1213) was all under the guise of creating buffer zones around national parks. Ultimately, the bill was passed and forced the Commission to pick between navigating a difficult and expensive process to implement the bill or ban the cage trapping of bobcats, they picked the ban despite state biologists claiming bobcat levels in California were at a minimum stable but likely increasing.


The previous commission has set a dangerous precedent by inviting these dishonest and manipulative groups to the table instead of relying on department biologists to dictate changes for wildlife management policy.


Please take 10 minutes of your day to write an e-mail or call the California Fish and Game Commission to voice your concern. If you can’t, please take the time to ask the conservation group you belong to support predator hunting as a conservation tool. If you do not belong to a group, please join one. There are scores of conservation minded groups out there. If there is something you care about or enjoy doing, there is probably a group out there that will fight for what you care about at the state and national level.


You can contact the Cali­fornia Fish and Game Commission here: California Fish and Game Commission, P.O. Box 944209, Sacramento, CA 94244-2090; phone (916) 653-4899; or e-mail at fgc@fgc.ca.gov.




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