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
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
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
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.