Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting
Letters to the Editor and Others
We’ve been closely following the corruption scandal that has been plaguing the Virginia Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF). Exposed by insiders, we discover that the betrayal of public trust and misuse of public funds is truly shocking. Yet it pales in comparison to the fraud perpetrated on the public by the entire game division. Unfortunately, the scandalous operations of the VDGIF will have to be exposed by outsiders.
Sadly, if insiders had not protested the use of state money for private hunts, this would never have come to the fore, for these agencies operate with no outside supervision. How we wish that someone “inside” would speak against managing wildlife for hunting and hunters but it would require a change of heart.
Whether this good ole boy or that good ole boy (forgive me Ms. Crumley) takes the helm, there is little hope for positive wildlife management until there are no more good ole boys running the show.
If you think that a rip-off of thousands of dollars is bad, consider that the VDGIF has been ripping off the public to the tune of millions of dollars a year for close to 50 years. Unbelievably, Virginia’s General Fund is forced to support this agency that operates on behalf of a small special interest group: the hunters.
Game management divisions support themselves with firearms money, hunting permit sales, and our taxes from the General Fund. While they claim to serve the “public,” all of their public relations, advertising, laws and regulations are designed to bring more money to their coffers via the abuse of wildlife and the environment.
I’ve personally been in a meeting with wildlife managers from up and down the Eastern Seaboard who asked that everyone take a break from the meeting to call their Congressional reps to ensure that a federal bill on the floor for a vote didn’t pass. That particular bill would have given protection to fish spawning areas by preventing disruptive activity from taking place during certain times of the year. The waterfowl managers wanted to be able to create impoundments to increase waterfowl populations for hunting.
While mandated to “protect” fish and wildlife for the public, anyone in the know will tell you that they protect hunting and trapping (and fishing) for consumptive users. We need a clean sweep of these good ole boys for the sake of our wildlife, our wildlife viewing, our ability to be safe from harm, and our tax dollars being spent on essential services. Let’s deal with the real fraud of wildlife management.
Whether the next group coming in will pay for their own African Safari hunts or not begs the issue of wildlife management for hunting. We believe that wildlife management and managers who cling to the old ideas of “whack ‘em and stack ‘em” are no longer affordable from any perspective. Hunting license sales are diminishing, the hunter population is dropping, and the environment is becoming more threatened, scarcer, and degraded.
If we managed for the 98% of the public - for wildlife watching - it would be a quadruple win: the wildlife would win, the 98% of the public would win, the economy would win, and the environment would win.
To learn more, please go to www.wildwatch.org
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