In a recent issue of Animal Writes we brought you
information on Florida
"conservation" license plates that were really just helping hunters.
As follow-up information, we are including the following editorial by
AR Actvst@aol.com regarding this
I especially enjoyed the article on the "conservation"
license plates. Here is
where we run into trouble with the hunters.
As you correctly reported, funds to state game
departments are basically used
for the benefit of hunters, regardless of their source. Game departments
states are controlled by hunters. They are NOT interested in conserving
wildlife, they are interested in conserving HUNTING!!!!!!
These wildlife license plates are indeed a fraud. But
what are ARAs to do?
Oppose them? The headlines read then "Animal Group Opposes Funding for
In some states, where the hunting culture is not strong,
such as Illinois, the
state makes the assurance that the license plate funds are to be used
game" wildlife habitat, or state park operation. Cute. Guess what? Most
parks in Illinois are open to hunters. They even operate canned pheasant
in 8 state parks using hand raised birds released only minutes before
"hunted". All these parks include an annual "youth hunt" where the park
reserved for hunters under age 16 to hunt the tame birds. These publicly
owned state parks are closed to all other activity during the canned
"pheasant season" which runs from the first Saturday in November until
December 31. Armed Conservation Police Officers guard the gates of each
park to prevent any access except by licensed hunters. Imagine if
demanded exclusive use of state parks for 8 weeks each year.....imagine
horseback riders, snowmobilers, hikers, campers, bird watchers, African
Americans, Jews, Kosovo refugees, people with blonde hair, or people
on February 29, each demanded 8 weeks exclusive use of the state parks.
Imagine also that they demanded armed guards provided by the state to be
sure that ONLY their special group was allowed in. Now imagine that all
groups demanded that the state provide them with horses, boats, hiking
shoes, snowmobiles, gasoline, binoculars, or kosher food. Now imagine
these same groups coerce the state government to pass laws to arrest and
charge with a crime any person who expressed a dislike to their group's
demands!!!!!!!!! THIS is exactly what hunters have done. If a a
found on the property of an Illinois State park during the canned hunt
season, you will be charged with "Hunter harassment" or "Non-hunter in a
hunting area." Both could land you in jail for up to 180 days!!!!!!!
The "non-game habitat" maintained by these license plate
funds is the same
habitat used by hunters to pursue game animals. There really IS a sucker
Hunters "pay for conservation"? Guess again. In 1996,
the Iowa Department
of Natural Resources did a nationwide study to determine how state
license and stamp fees are used. For every dollar in fees, on average,
cents goes for enforcement of hunting regulations. Nearly three-quarters
hunter dollars are used to police themselves. (And, I presume, to keep
of us out of state parks when hunters are using them.) Imagine if 3/4 of
property taxes were to pay for police......there would be something
wrong with the system, wouldn't there be? Maybe your local police are
the "Sheriff of Nottingham"?
Another 15 cents is "administrative" costs "other than
A call to the Iowa DNR for clarification of that indicated that those
included office personnel, office space costs and printing fees for
licenses and stamps, along with rewards paid to artists for the selected
work used on the stamps.
Of the remaining 14 cents, wildlife habitat programs
were listed under the
"other" category. One can assume that the majority of that money was
to promote larger populations of GAME animals. Any benefit to non-game
But what about the Pittman-Robertson funds so highly
touted by hunters?
Well, those fees come from taxes on the sale of all sporting firearms
ammunition, as well as boating equipment and accessories. This means
all firearms owners pay these fees regardless of whether they hunt or
According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) nearly 80%
P-R funds come from NON-hunters. But how are the funds distributed? 25%
are allocated for hunter education programs. 10% for public shooting
development, the remainder for the restoration of game animal
While our game animal populations thrive well beyond the
ability of the habitat
to support them, thereby resulting in the "need" for hunting......not to
crop damage, disease, starvation and skyrocketing incidents of
accidents, the perennial endangered species hang on by their claws for
another year. They are ignored by the system established of the hunters,
the hunters, and for the hunters that is the "conservation" system in
Indeed, perhaps the best thing that could be done for
our endangered animals
under this system would be to list them as game animals. Given the
to kill whooping cranes for fun, the hunters will dupe people out of
purchase more targets for themselves.
Hunters are the PROBLEM..........not the solution.
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