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CASH Courier > 1994 Autumn Issue

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The C.A.S.H. Courier

Autumn 1994 Issue

AT THE JUGULAR VEIN OF WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT

By Anne Muller

For sure, the economic basis of wildlife management must change. But something else must change, and that’s the tenet that hunting is a legitimate recreational activity. Our current system actually violates the law in that managers must manage for all species. “Harvest” management does not take “non-game” species into consideration. [See the Gray article in the spring issue of the C.A.S.H. magazine.] We agree wholeheartedly that excise taxes on such items as cameras, film, birdseed, etc. would be an ideal way to support our wildlife management projects. The question is, who will manage the money? How do we ensure that every penny is spent on “diversity management”? How do we ensure that “diversity management” will not work hand in glove with “game management”? Are the same “game” managers going to do “diversity” management? Will game management be implemented within diversity management? How will that work? Can game management co-exist with diversity programs? Should it? C.A.S.H. wanted to raise those questions at the National Watchable Wildlife Conference where we were told ‘many environmental groups would be participating to discuss “Watchable Wildlife Programs.” Non-consumptive users will be a much-needed source of income for Wildlife Diversity Funding. Our cooperation is imperative. Will we be tricked, cajoled or forced into a new program that is not substantively different? Or will we be creating a wildlife management system that leaves the current nightmare in the dust? Watchable Wildlife will be to wildlife diversity what hunting is to Pittman-Robertson. It will be the channel through which the “observers” will pump money directly into the coffers of wildlife management. Excited about this Initiative, I immediately applied for a table and submitted the ad below. (I confess I was expecting a request to modify it to some degree considering who the “partners” are: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Park Service, USDA Forest Service, the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (comprised in part of the upper echelons of state “game” departments), the Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation and Defenders of Wildlife.)

You can imagine my surprise when I received the following letter with our checks returned:

September 26, 1994

Dear Ms. Muller,

I recently reviewed the conference program advertisement and exhibit registration form that Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting submitted for the National Watchable Wildlife Conference in Burlington, Vermont.

We believe the advertisement and/or an exhibit by C.A.S.H. would be inappropriate given the purpose of the conference. As noted in the registration brochure, the purpose of the conference is to:

· Unite tourism and conservation professionals. It is the gathering place to build working relationships, see successful projects in action and share information that can help you improve your watchable wildlife efforts.

· Help you gain the hands on skills and knowledge needed to build or expand your watchable wildlife program.

· Provide concrete examples of how to use watchable wildlife to achieve your habitat conservation, biodiversity protection, or ecosystem management goals.

· Showcase opportunities for integrating watchable wildlife into your programs such as backyard and urban wildlife, nature centers, conservation camps, and environmental education curricula.

· Emphasize ways in which tourism can link with watchable wildlife to benefit both conservation and local economies.

The conference offers an opportunity to discuss watchable wildlife. However, as you stated on both the exhibit registration form and your proposed advertisement, your purpose is to abolish sport hunting. Sport hunting is an important part of many of the agencies and organizations involved in wildlife conservation, including watchable wildlife; this conference has nothing to do with hunting – pro or con.

I have enclosed a copy of our policy regarding exhibitors and advertising for the National Watchable Wildlife Conference. Also enclosed are your exhibitor and ad space requests and checks. Of course, you and your colleague are welcome to attend the conference, and we have received your registration forms. I am returning those to you as well, requesting that you send new checks with the proper amount of $175 for your registration fees.

All persons who attend do so in a spirit of contributing ideas and expertise with wildlife professionals to improve watchable wildlife programs.

Sincerely,

R. Max Peterson
Executive Vice President

Asking for clarification, I received a call from a George Lapointe on behalf of R. Max Peterson to explain their position further. He asked how I would like it if the NRA came to our meeting [that appears to be a confession right there that they see this as their meeting and not a meeting of the general public.] He said we were irrelevant to the purpose of the conference and reiterated, “the purpose of the conference was not to discuss the pros and cons of hunting.” Although that was hard to believe, I knew that I could only prove that after the fact. Then, lo and behold, just as I was finalizing the C.A.S.H. Courier, a draft of an article by Mr. Lapointe descended upon my desk. A finalized copy is destined for the Nov.-Dec. issue of North American Hunter Magazine. Here are some pertinent and revealing aspects of the draft.

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