It’s easy to understand why California Houndsmen are up in arms as the animal rights lobby continues its push to ban hunting with hounds for bobcat and bears. But what you might not know is why it should matter to sportsmen in the other 49 states.
1. Your Hunting Rights Are Not Absolute.
Your right to hunt, fish, and trap can be taken away easier than you realize.
In fact, they are generally treated as “privileges” in the eyes of the law (not much different from driving.) Legislators and government officials have the ability to easily amend, restrict, or prohibit hunting, fishing, and trapping.
Threats to your rights pop up across the country constantly. They come from legislators, government agencies, and at the ballot box and can come from all levels of government – the local, state, and national levels.
The behind the scenes story about how the California Senate came to vote to prohibit bear and bobcat hunting with hounds is a real eye-opener to hunters about how state government actually functions in the Golden State. And it should be a lesson to sportsmen nationwide as it would be naïve to believe this couldn’t happen elsewhere.
On May 21, the Senate passed Senate Bill 1221 by a vote of 22 – 15. It takes 21 votes to pass a bill. When a vote is this close, it’s really important to know who sportsmen should hold accountable.
Here are the four Senators most responsible for the hunting ban:
The answer is yes, of course. Especially if you were supposed to be at work, your work was not completed prior to your hunting trip, or if you lacked time off to actually miss work.
But could you lose your job just because you went hunting? It might surprise you to learn that Dan Richards, president of the California Fish and Game Commission, nearly lost his after going on a mountain lion hunt… in Idaho.
Mountain lion hunting has been prohibited in California since a 1990 ballot issue gave the species special protection. However, it continues to be completely legal in neighboring Idaho, which uses hunting as a means to control cougar numbers.
As you might imagine, we spend a good deal of time talking to lawmakers about legislation that could cause problems for sportsmen or asking for their support for pro-hunting proposals.
Sometimes you get a direct, to-the-point answer like “yes, I support your position” or “no I don’t.” But many other times careful listening is required.
The language of the lawmaker can be a crafty and evasive dialect. To my knowledge, no one has yet to create a good “politician to English/English to politician field guide” for translating and no university has it listed as a foreign language class.
Whether you’re making calls to defeat California Senate Bill 1221, which would ban hunting bears with hounds, or working to support legislation such as HR 4089, which protects hunting, fishing, and shooting on public land, here are a few responses you might hear from lawmakers and a few hints about what they are really saying.
The last 30 days have been chock full of key events that have a tremendous impact on the future of hunting, fishing and recreational shooting in America – events that are leading many sportsmen and women to draw conclusions about (or further cement their conclusions about) Democratic decision makers.
- In the nation’s capitol, Congress debated sportsmen’s access to public land, whether EPA could regulate ammunition and fishing tackle, whether recreational shooting should be permissible on national monument land where compatible, and last whether the United States should allow the importation of legally hunted trophies.
- In California, the Senate debated whether to ban hunting black bears and bobcats using hounds.
- In Ohio, lawmakers protested colleagues holding clay bird shooting events as political fundraisers in the wake of a school shooting that occurred in February 250 miles away from the proposed event.
When it comes to asserting the rights of animals, the end truly justifies the means for the animal rights lobby, and their minions in Congress and state legislatures across the country. This phenomenon has been on stark display in the United States House of Representatives and in the California Senate over the last 30 days:
Some of My Best Friends are Hunters
On April 17th, the U.S. House passed the most significant piece of pro-sportsmen legislation in 15 years, as HR 4089 was approved 274-189. Although the vote included 39 Democrats, a group of their left-leaning colleagues led the charge to gut the bill through a series of amendments. The most disgusting part of this maneuver was to see several of them profess their love and admiration for hunting and fishing prior to proposing amendments that would neuter the very hunting, fishing and shooting protections that HR 4089 provides.