The State of Hunting - 2007 By Ted Nugent
Aug 30, 2007 - 6:15:45 AM
The Nugent family so cherishes our sacred hunting seasons, that an annual review is in order in order to monitor the condition of our beloved Spirit of the Wild.
First The Good.
*Stewardship*: Hunters are the true stewards of wildlife. Though just fifteen percent of the population, hunters again in 2007 provide well over 50% of the funds for wildlife management and upgrade by fueling state wildlife agencies.
The funds from our licensing fees, habitat stamps, sporting goods, hunting supplies and more continue to provide much needed funds for both game and non-game species such as song birds and even endangered species. Without hunters' dollars, America would not be envied around the world for our flourishing wildlife successes.
*Game On*: These are the good ole days of hunting! Thanks to generations of hunters who imposed fees and mostly intelligent regulations on ourselves, we celebrate that there are more deer, turkey, geese, black bear and cougars across North America today than at any time in recorded history. There are more elk, buffalo, moose, grizzly bear, and assorted big and small game and waterfowl in many instances than in over 150 years. In the wake of widespread devoplment, this is truly phenomenal. If it gets any better than this, be sure you call me. I want in!
*Sharing the bounty and reducing Hunger*: Hunters killed, grilled and dished out over 250 million hot, perfect, maximum protein, nutritional meals of renewable venison health food for our fellow needy Americans this past hunting season via the various Hunters for the Hungry, Sportsmen Against Hunger, Hunters and Farmers Feeding the Hungry charities. The dedication and sheer generosity of hunters to share the abundance of our annual harvest makes me glow with pride and proves irrefutably once again that hunters are the good guys. Donate and become involved with one of these wonderful causes or start your own and celebrate to everybody everywhere you can!
*Safety First*: Hunting continues to be one of our country's safest forms of recreation. In fact, the 2006 hunting season was the safest on record. Firearm related deaths and injuries, along with heart attacks and asphyxiations were at an all time low, and more and more hunters are wearing fall-restraint safety harnesses when hunting from elevated stands.
Certainly our united goal must be zero casualties and zero accidents, and we are improving all the time. All of us must get much more vocal in demanding the basic safety requirements from all our fellow hunters to reduce injuries. It can be done if we all turn up the safety heat. Do it.
Now The Bad.
*Public Relations*: The Boone and Crocket Club, Pope and Young, SCI and other various respected big game record keeping organizations in every state and around the world scramble maniacally to process mountains of paperwork turned in by successful hunters everywhere as record books burst at the seams with new animal entries and new world records continuing to be broken every year. These organizations should be dedicated to better using their resources to relate these irrefutable modern wildlife management successes to the public. It's called PR.
If indeed any non-hunting Americans actually knew what B&C, P&Y, NWTF, FNAWS, RMEF, DU. SCI stood for; they would then know clearly that we the hunters of America are all about healthier wildlife populations, biodiversity, habitat and balance. Bursting record books contain irrefutable evidence and proof that modern wildlife management, hunting, creates bigger, healthier wildlife. This should be our battlecry. B&C, P&Y, DU, RMEF, NWTF, FNAWS, NRA and SCI and all sporting orgs need to get on this ASAP.
*We the people unification*: Too few of us are members of a local, state or national organization that seek to recruit new hunters, promote hunting and lobby elected officials to expand hunting opportunities. There is strength in numbers. Politicians will surely pay attention to multitudes of hunters united under one banner.
I encourage all hunters to join a hunting organization and get involved. Do not expect others to do your bidding for you. It is virtually inexcusable for any hunter or gun owner in America to not be a member of the NRA. That is clearly Job One in this culture war against us.
*We the people activism*: Why the letters to the editors section of the newspaper and talk radio programs across America are not flooded with pro-hunting voices continues to baffle me. While the culture war wages all around us, too few of us are doing our part to ensure the overwhelming positive message of hunting is shared with our fellow non-hunting Americans.
We can and must do better to celebrate and promote hunting. I never, and no one should ever waste any time defending hunting. It needs no defending.
What it needs is promoting, celebrating and unshackling, period. In sheer family hours of recreation, massively increasing tonnage of healthy venison provided, exploding acreage of sporting goods stores going up and goods sold, incalculable conservation revenues generated, entire ecosystems of environmental benefits inventoried and habitats safeguarded and rehabilitated, there is no entity nor activity available on planet earth that is so positive in its successes and flourishing in its entrepreneurial grandiosity as is hunting and fishing in the modern world. Spread that word. Crush an anti.
And Last, The Ugly.
*Illogical Insanity amongst us*: If we want to kill enthusiasm for attracting new hunters then surely we should stay on course by endorsing Sunday hunting bans, minimum age restrictions, bow and gun case laws, one box of shells on person limits, shooting hours, disabled bows and guns while walking to and from our stands, no scopes on muzzleloaders in CO & elsewhere, no inline muzzleloaders in PA, no semi auto deer rifles in PA, a week off between bow & gun season, no release aid for WA bow hunters, no crossbows in archery seasons, red and white suits required when hunting in Canada, no turkey hunting after noon, no bear baiting or use of hounds in some bear and cougar rich regions, etc.
Netters get to haul in tons of fish but sporters have a ridiculously reduced limit. All of this is the baffling, unsupportable self-imposed insanity in our sport and these counterproductive rules, requirements and regulations need to be overturned ASAP. If a hunting or fishing law fails to directly address safety considerations and resource management, they should be eliminated. Period. Nonsense regs are the number one deterrent to critical recruitment. We must fix this embarrassment ASAP.
*Public Access*: Some existing regulations are suicidal against recruitment and detrimental to basic American right's and "wise use" conservation. A glaring example is the outrageous policy that charges tax dollars to kill surplus and "nuisance" big game animals on our federal lands and in National and State Parks. After all, just who is it do you think that owns these lands and animals? Does "we the people" ring any bells?
That the USDA would be allowed to budget American tax dollars to kill bears, moose, deer, elk, buffalo, wild sheep and other critters while forbidding "we the people" to properly utilize them, thereby generating critically needed conservation revenues, is so viciously anti-American as to be off the charts.
Tens of thousands of majestic elk run wild in the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado and are dangerously overpopulated to the extent that they are destroying the ecosystem. Not only are American hunters forbidden to hunt them, but the bureaucrats have the audacity to actually rape and pillage our hard earned tax dollars to hire others to kill them for us. It is as if a stoned, dirty hippy was writing these policies. Upgrade is begging.
This goes on all over the country. Gettysburg, Yosemite, Gatlin, Smokey Mountain, our land, our resources, our rights, our family recreational ops, all off limits due to some illogical, anti-American policy written in stone as if science and biology and freedom don't exist within certain designated public lands in this country.
Meanwhile, not only are American families denied access to our public properties and resources, but God knows how many majestic big game animals are systematically slaughtered as is done to California bears and cougars, then these precious creatures are unceremoniously buried in a pit somewhere. This is the most offensive, callous and anti-American waste and insult to "we the people" I have ever imagined. And it must stop ASAP. This should be the battle cry of the American hunter/conservation community everywhere. "Give us back our land and wildlife. No more waste!"
Access to quality hunting lands has always been a critical issue for inspiring new families to take up hunting and the shooting sports. Without a good, un-crowded place to go with the family, many people simply will not go through the extensive effort to get their hunter safety certificate, the incredible expense to purchase all the necessary gear and put in the demanding time that it takes to get out there and become "hands-on" conservationists.
By opening up the vast acreage of these public lands that American families already own, this issue would become moot overnight. I hear a thunderous "DUH!" out there! Anybody with me? Let us raise some hell my friends. Hammer your elected officials and demand logic into policy immediately.
The insanity of Sunday hunting bans are ending slowly but surely, improved and more sensible hunting regulations based on science and logic continue to expand, and the foolishness of minimum hunting age restrictions are going the way of the dodo bird. Good.
I hang with hunters everyday. There are many happy, smiling, venison infested faces out here. Things are very good in the world of hunting right here and now, and well deserved celebrations throttle on. My hunting buddies and I would give a solid "B" grade to hunting 07 and the same for fishing and trapping. These are all related conservation issues, and we must all stand together.
Though clearly pleased at the State of Hunting today, for those of us who hold disdain for all things status quo and know that quality of life prioritization demands constant vigilance and activism for upgrade on all fronts, there is much work to be done.
These are the issues facing the American hunter today, the good, the bad and the ugly. From my early days in the 1950s trying to find a deer to shoot, to this past season where I was literally surrounded by deer in every state I hunted, I know hunting is never a gimme, but I sure like the way things are today better than in my youth. Celebrate this with everybody you know.
Fight for upgrade, recruit, promote and get everyone you possibly can to join the American BloodBrother campfire of the Great Spirit of the Wild. I've already got my fall and winter huntseason planned for the upcoming year, and I have a wonderful feeling it's going to be grand, truly grand. I envision backstrap fever gone wild!! Aint it grand!