News that legislation banning bear hunting using hounds appears to be on the fast track to a vote before the full Senate has jolted California sportsmen. Stunned when the Senate Natural Resources Committee voted 5-3 to pass Senate Bill 1221 in the presence of 600 hunters who took off work to attend the hearing, sportsmen are digging for answers about what to do next.
Some are wondering if the game is fixed, questioning whether a majority of Senators are already in bed with the Humane Society of the United States. The truth is we don’t know that, and wondering about it won’t change a single vote.
The key now is to bring pressure on each Senator from within their own districts in as many ways as possible.
Here are things to do that give sportsmen the best chance to win the day on SB 1221 or any other issue:
1. Call your Senator today to ask for a NO vote on SB 1221. Ask for a meeting. Let the staffer know your address so they know you are a constituent. Leave a message if the Senator is unavailable. Ask for a return call about their position on the bill. USSA’s Legisaltive Action Center can help you find the correct contact information.
2. Send an email to your Senator asking the same thing, once again asking for a response. The email should include your contact information including a telephone number. It is a lot harder to disappoint someone over the telephone than it is with an impersonal email response.
3. Write a letter similar to your email. Taking the time to craft and mail a letter sends a message. Anyone can fire off an email. A letter demonstrates commitment.
4. Send a letter to the editor of your local paper. Politicians scan the editorial pages to get a sense of where voters stand. Here are some resources to help. The facts about hound hunting. Whats’ behind SB 1221?
5. Get at least five other people to do the same four things. It is not hard to recruit five others. Spouses, grown children, parents, friends… all will work. Every now and then, we find that someone we recruit to do this has a special relationship with a key Senator. They may be family, or a prominent businessman, a union official, an old friend, or even a contributor to your Senator. You never know until you try.
6. Go to Sacramento to watch them vote. Stop in at your Senator’s office before hand to ask for their NO vote. If the Senator is unavailable, leave a message that you drove there from your town, and that you will be watching the vote. Not everyone can do this, but it sure sends a message.
7. Make a contribution to fund the effort. Campaigns like this cost money. Things like grassroots postcards, advertising, lobbying, travel and more. Help make those things possible by making a donation. It doesn’t have to be huge, but do your part.
The bottom line is this: When the dust settles and we win or lose, it is important to know that you did your part. So whether like the heroes from the Alamo fated to lose; or like the desperate but ultimately victorious warriors that held on for dear life during the siege at Bastogne, we want to be sure that we utilize every resource we have until we are completely out of ammo.
Thanks for doing your part!