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CASH Courier > 1994 Autumn Issue

Selected Articles from our newsletter

The C.A.S.H. Courier

Autumn 1994 Issue

What’s the Wildlife Diversity Initiative? - Why Should Hunters Support It?

Excerpt from a draft by George Lapointe, Project Liaison, Proactive Strategies for Fish and Wildlife Management

[Emphasis Supplied]

There’s something in the wild this fall and it’s not just the hunting fever of North America’s 17 million hunters. [Editor’s Note: They admit hunters are sick.] It’s called the Wildlife Diversity Funding Initiative, an effort to fund the management and programs directed at fish and wildlife species that are not hunted or fished…this amounts to some 1,800 hundred species in north America…[I]t will be good for North America’s wildlife and hunters. The Initiative is being spearheaded by the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies which represents all 50 state fish and wildlife agencies, as well as Canadian provincial fish and wildlife agencies. The association has been a cornerstone in fish and wildlife management since 1902…Whether the issue is promoting and protecting the Pittman-Robertson fund, promoting sound management of the National and Wildlife Refuge System that allows hunting and fishing, or pushing for the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, the Association has been there fighting for wildlife management. The Initiative represents the continuing evolution in professional fish and wildlife management, not a revolution that will send hunting and fishing to some recreational wasteland.

The Initiative will provide for a way for non-game enthusiasts to help wildlife with their money…Wildlife Diversity projects would target conservation, recreation and education. Examples of conservation projects include habitat acquisition, surveys, restoration of depleted populations and education projects…The Initiative isn’t an effort by agencies to increase the size and scope of government. The Initiative is being supported by the Wildlife Management Institute, Archery Manufacturers and Merchants Organization, the Wildlife Society as well as the National Wildlife Federation, Audubon, and other mainstream conservation organizations…I hope that the Initiative will also earn the support of the groups like he North American Hunting Club…By law, state fish and wildlife agencies are responsible for managing all fish and resident wildlife, not just those that are shot, hooked or trapped. [Could have fooled me!] A good reason for hunters to support the Wildlife Diversity Initiative is that adequate funding of programs not related to hunting or fishing will allow agencies to spend more license fee and Pittman-Robertson funds on hunting related projects…The increase in agency funding from the Wildlife Diversity Initiative will reduce pressure on agencies to fund all types of programs from license fees…which will allow those license fees to be used on quality hunting habitat, access programs, advance hunter training and other hunting related programs. The net result will be better hunting in your state.

I’d argue that this initiative will help hunting. Others will learn that hunters don’t just care about the animals that they kill but that they carry within themselves the same deep, almost inherent love for wildlife that these aesthetic wildlifers have…It won’t be us versus them, it will be us an them working together blending into them being us, working on the common goal of conserving all wildlife for slightly different reasons. [Yikes!]

I won’t tell you that it will be easy at first because all of the ignorance, distrust, and misinformation touted by extremists [their term for the majority of citizens] will need to be worked through. Putting wildlife diversity programs in a separate agency, on without jurisdiction over fish and wildlife, will lead to competition, misunderstanding, inefficient, uncoordinated wildlife programs. Will this be good for wildlife? No. Will this be good for hunting? No. It will result in less wildlife for hunters…Local control also makes it easier for hunters to participate in the Initiative as it develops.

The Initiative is not an animal rights ploy to take over fish and wildlife management in the U.S. [That’s for sure.]

In summary, the Initiative deserves the support of North America’s hunters because 1) it is sound management and hunting is founded in sound management; 2) it allows aesthetic wildlife users to pay their share of managing fish and wildlife resources; 3) it will allow more funds to flow into hunting programs; 4) it will allow aesthetic wildlife users and hunters to work together benefiting all parties; 5) it will improve habitat for all species hunted and unhunted; and 6) it is a great program for the wildlife we all love.

America’s hunters have long said that they’ve been the backbone of financial support of this nation’s fish and wildlife efforts and they’re right. The Wildlife Diversity Funding Initiative will allow other wildlife enthusiasts to shoulder their part of the burden and to tap into the vision and success of America’s hunters. [**] More importantly, it will strengthen fish and wildlife management programs, which will in turn, strengthen hunting.” [Amen.]

Isn’t it crystal clear by now that Mr. Lapointe has NO agenda to take to the public Conference which has NOTHING to do with the pros AND cons of hunting? He’s right; it simply has to do with its implicit acceptance!

IT APPEARS THAT OUR FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS WERE DENIED BY THE WILDLIFE AGENCIES AND THE HUNTING INTERESTS – THE SAME FOLKS WHO ARE SCREAMING FOR THEIR “SECOND AMENDMENT” RIGHTS! THEY SAID: WE WILL NOT ALLOW C.A.S.H. TO EVEN SUGGEST THAT HUNTING DOESN’T BELONG IN WATCHABLE WILDLIFE PROGRAMS! IN FACT, WE DON’T WANT THIS ‘NON-ISSUE’ TO BECOME AN ISSUE IN THE PUBLIC MIND; AND WE KNOW C.A.S.H. IS A TROUBLE MAKER JUST BY ITS NAME!

C.A.S.H.’s response has been sent to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in Vermont. You might want to call them at 802-223-6304 to encourage them to take our case. We’ve also contacted Wendy Hudson of Defenders of Wildlife (a Watchable Wildlife Partner) and publisher of Nature Network, the Quarterly Newsletter of the National Watchable Wildlife Program, 1637 Laurel St., Lake Oswego, OR 907034, 503-697-3222 to tell her what we thought of being denied a legitimate position at the conference. Our response is simple: We are a twenty-year-old organization with a well-researched, well-documented position. We also represent the majority of citizens. Conferees are free to scorn us, ridicule us, even ignore us, but we should be permitted to distribute our material to the public in a legitimate manner. The Conference, it appears, is paid for with general taxes.

The denial of our right to present our view to the public about current wildlife management practices, and our vision for the future, was not the first time:

September 9, 1994

Dear Ms. Muller,

Thank you for sending me information about methods of dissuading Canada Geese.

With regards to having a table at the Harvest Fair, I feel I should inform you that we do not support your views regarding the abolishment of sport hunting.

The Center believes it is the right of the individual regarding whether or not he or she wants to hunt. It is not our intention to sway people one way or the other.

You should also know that several staff at the Center are licensed Falconers and actively involved in hunting with their birds. There will in fact be demonstrations during the fair.

You should also know that an important part of our programming involves on-going seminars we call our “Sportsman’s Series.” To date these programs have focused on recreational fishing, which your organization would probably view as “hunting underwater.”

In view of this, I am inclined to believe that it is probably not a good idea for your group to set up a table at the fair.

I will however make your views known to the Environmental Club, in case they would like to invite your organization for a student forum.

Very truly yours,

Angelo Spillo, Director
Pace Environmental Center

The President of the University did not respond to polite letters or faxes and the law school did not get involved.

C.A.S.H. needs your moral support, your energy and your financial help. We’re making headway, but it’s going to be an expensive battle. Together we can defeat this continued violation of our rights.

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