Three Things to Know About Your Hunting Rights

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.

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Exposed: Meet the Senators Responsible for California’s Hunting Ban Vote

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:

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Could You Lose Your Job Because You Went Hunting?

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.

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Sportsmen – Don’t Fall for Politician Doubletalk

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.

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Four Reasons Hunting Really Matters in the 2012 Elections

Unfortunately the vast majority of elected officials are not hunters.  So it is up to sportsmen to convince them why they should care about our issues.  Of course there are roughly 20 million hunters in America, so that is a huge start.  But what about the many candidates for office who represent areas where we just don’t have a lot of sportsmen and women?

If you live in one of these places you need to be armed with some good reasons why your elected official should care about hunting.  For many of them, hunting just doesn’t seem like a big deal.  Many dismiss it as a second-class issue.

Here’s why hunting is in the same class as the economy, jobs, healthcare, and the budget: Continue reading