|"IT COULD NEVER HAPPEN HERE"
The following is an article taken from the 1998 Activities Report
of The Wildlife Legislative Fund of America.
Bowhunters Face Threats In Maryland, Massachusetts
Archery hunting may be coming under fire again in two East Coast states.
In Maryland, a gubernatorial appointee to the state's wildlife rule making
body, the Maryland Wildlife Advisory Commission, has pushed for the state
wildlife agency to ban all bowhunting, statewide.
In Massachusetts, the state wildlife agency director is concerned about
rumors of a statewide voter issue to challenge bowhunting in the 2000 elections.
The Maryland situation dates to the 1996 elections when Governor Paris
Glendenning named Dr. E. Joseph Lamp to the state Wildlife Advisory Commission.
Lamp is a member of several national animal rights organizations. In the
face of sportsmen protests surrounding his appointment, Lamp professed
to not let his animal rights leanings cloud his judgement as regarding
sound wildlife policy.
The proposal failed, but Bowhunters and all sportsmen nationwide must
be vigilant. The anti-hunting organizations have for years been attempting
to pack the states wildlife agency rule making bodies with their members.
If that happens, it will be the simplest, least costly way for them to
achieve their goal of outlawing all hunting, fishing and trapping.
Although details are sparse, Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and
Wildlife Director Wayne McCallum has expressed concern to WLFA staff that
the same crowd, which successfully campaigned to end, bear hunting and
trapping in the state is coming back for more.
For years, anti-hunters have ranked bowhunting within their top two
or three primary targets.
In Massachusetts, where hunters and trappers were trounced in the 1996
elections, anti-hunters believe the climate is ripe to extend their successes
to a ban on bowhunting.
Bowhunters in Massachusetts, Maryland and throughout the East and the
nation must circle the wagons because the siege is being intensified. Have
your organization contact the W.L.F.A. for information on how you can get
involved to fight back through the WLFA's Bowhunter Defense Coalition.
Wow, That is some sobering information. Imagine if a vote were taken
today in the state of Florida regarding your right to hunt with a bow.
A vote that included all registered voters. Even the ones that think meat
is produced by some magical process, not by killing cows, chickens and
pigs. The kind of people that would be voting on your right to bowhunt
are the folks that think Disney cartoon characters are animals. The closest
they get to the food harvesting process is driving up to a fast food take
We can learn a thing or two from the above article. Notice how the animal
rights people do not attack all hunting at once. They choose the least
popular and weakest forms of hunting first. By weakest I mean the forms
with the least probable amount of members and money. They choose the ones
least likely to have high public support. Maybe the anti's are more predatory
than they would like to think. At any rate, each time they take out a form
of hunting they are emboldened. They are also learning through these experiences.
This is evidence that we as hunters (all hunters) need to stick together
and support one another. While I do not care for some forms of hunting,
I do not attack any form of legal hunting. They are just forms of hunting
I do not participate in. I do think illegal hunters should be exposed and
turned in to the law because they are the fuel used by anti's in many cases
to fight good honest hunters and they are in a sense thieves stealing from
You will also notice from the above article that anti-hunters are now
attempting to work from the inside of the rule making process. This is
something else we need to be on the look out for. We as an organization
should get to know as many of the people involved in the GFC legislative
process as possible.
We can also learn from the article that we (Bowhunters) are on the anti's
hit list. Matter of fact our turn has been coming up lately in some areas.
We need to be ready and organized for that possibility here. In that respect
the TBOF is attempting to join a coalition of hunting organizations within
the state as a means of establishing a unified front to stand against any
anti-hunting attacks. We will not be able to stand our ground alone, and
it would be foolish to attempt to do so.
Let me leave you with one other thought. I think it was one of our great
presidents that once said, "You should keep non-hunters as friends" Maybe
Theodore Roosevelt, I am not sure. At any rate, the saying still rings
true. If you are a typical, ethical, conscientious traditional Bowhunter
you can do much for our sport to promote your values to your non-hunting
friends. As they come to realize the respect you have for the animals you
hunt, your reverence for the outdoors, your hunt first, harvest second
attitude, they will gain great respect for you and have a more positive
attitude about the sport we so cherish. Actually I do not like the word
"sport" to describe an instinctive natural occurrence that has taken place
between man and beast since we were given dominion over all creatures,
but do so for lack of a better term. I think letting non-hunters know a
little about us, sharing our learning experiences, and in general behaving
like good stewards of the land, will go a long way if bowhunting ever hits
the ballot box. Well, I have said my piece, like it or not, it's up to
you now. Unless you think, it could never happen here!