Hunting > Whitetails

Hunting’s Greatest Threats

While some hunting threats are old battles that have raged for decades, others might surprise and even provoke you.

7/15/2011

It’s no secret that the hunting lifestyle faces daily attacks from many sides. But which fronts are the most effective at impeding or even ending the pursuit and management of game animals? While some threats are old battles that have raged for decades, others might surprise and even provoke you. Here are some of hunting’s greatest threats:

Anti-Gunners
With unending assaults on the federal and state levels, groups like the Brady Campaign are attacking the rights of law-abiding citizens to own, shoot or hunt with firearms, the only physical item our forefathers guaranteed us the right to own. And if the guns themselves aren’t in the sights of anti-gun organizations, these groups even stage attacks, sometimes successfully, on ammunition and even air guns.

Outside of the dire impact on outdoorsmen, attacks limiting the sale and use of firearms and ammo have direct consequences to the general public, conservation and state and federal budgets. Single-minded and short-sighted anti-gun advocates happily ignore the ways guns serve our nation’s conservation effort via the Pittman-Robertson Act of 1937, which stipulates that an 11-percent tax on all guns, ammunition and outdoor equipment sold be allocated to state conservation and wildlife restoration programs.

Animal Rights
In addition to unconstitutional laws anti-gun groups are trying to impose upon Americans, animal-rights advocates strive to dictate law based upon their own distorted morality. Standing tall upon a self-perceived moral high ground, animal-rights activists attempt to sway public opinion and brainwash our youth with emotional—yet scientifically lacking—pleas, imagery and lies.

While the media-hungry People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals draws attention to its causes with absurd stunts, the biggest threat it poses is how it is infiltrating and grooming the next generation of voters.

Although PETA is a household name, it is not the biggest animal-rights threat trying to end hunting. Nor is it anywhere near as effective. The Humane Society of the United States preys on the ignorance of individuals who believe that the group acts as a national headquarters for local humane society shelters across the country—they aren’t and don’t—while simultaneously flooding local elections with money and advertising that propagates its crooked agenda. As the 800-pound gorilla in the animal-rights arena, HSUS’s huge budget and law-producing strategy is one of the biggest threats hunters face.

Urbanization
As society continues to center around cities and suburbs, the urban lifestyle persists in overshadowing rural traditions. Our next generation of decision makers is quickly losing touch with the slower-paced, introspective lifestyle and the amazing world of nature.

With the connection to the outdoors dwindling with each and every downloaded gigabyte, so goes the understanding of ecosystems and our role within them. The next wave of voters, fraught with animal-rights and environmental propaganda, is comprised of individuals who are increasingly seeing themselves as separate from the natural world; virtual observers of the environment instead of stewards who function within the food chain. 

Federal and State Governments
As fish and game departments across the country struggle to make ends meet, state governments often see cold, hard cash in its coffers as bottom-line padding to make its budgets look better. Never mind that those monies are pay-to-play funds coughed up by hunters and anglers, and earmarked to support initiatives important to outdoorsmen and women; state governments continue to try and raid those reserves by combining them with general funds and more mainstream endeavors like birding, biking and camping.

And if the state isn’t eyeing already-raised funds, it tends to see hunters and outdoorsmen as a means to an end; the rising cost of resident state licenses, astronomical non-resident licenses and tag prices and the creation of public-land passes to overcome budgetary shortfalls constantly pillage the pockets of Average Joe hunters and anglers.

Hunters
As extreme as the threats to the hunting life are, hunters are also part of the problem. Apathy and infighting can open the door to every gun-fearing bunny-hugger with a computer and a cause.

Backbiting between factions—be it firearms versus bows or traditional versus modern equipment users—only serves to separate and weaken the hunting front, leaving us vulnerable to ballot-box undermining and greater government oversight.

The harder it is to find a quality hunting experience, and the more expensive it becomes, the fewer hunters we’ll have in the woods and fewer of tomorrow’s voters will understand our lifestyle.

The Economy
When markets crash and unemployment rises, a ripple effect shimmers through all levels of society. The great outdoors and hunting are no exception. With less discretionary income, new-gear purchases often get put on hold while big, out-of-state trips might get cancelled altogether.

That economic belt-tightening reverberates throughout the industry and impacts everyone from mom-and-pop shops to big-box retailers to entire local economies built around hunting seasons. The environment and conservation efforts feel the pressure, too; with less gear and few hunting licenses purchased, fewer taxes are collected that help fund the maintenance of public lands.

Invasive Species
Forget climate change, if you want to see a real ecological threat look no further than out your front window. Thanks to the pet and garden trade, as well as imported food markets, North America’s flora and fauna landscape are changing at an unprecedented and perhaps irreversible rate.

Released or escaped iguanas, pythons and fish, like the snakehead and Asian carp, threaten the ecological balance of our waterways, wetlands and native animal species. And introduced plants like salt cedar and kudzu can change the very landscape by absorbing precious water supplies and altering food and water sources that the entire food chain depends upon.

We all know the big, publicized threats to hunters, but few of us know where the smaller but just as significant ones lie. As sportsmen, it’s important for us to know this information so we can do everything in our power to preserve and protect our way of life.

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8 Responses to Hunting’s Greatest Threats

Sad Warrior wrote:
September 23, 2011

Hunting and fishing are the oldest and noblest of all sports. Some say they are the only true sports. Ozark Charlie had a great chance to right a wrong but flew off the handle and let it slip away. High tech hunting is not for any real hunetrs.

JMSMITHY wrote:
July 21, 2011

How sad that "Ozark Charlie" is EXACTLY what the article is talking about. Instead of using his God given brain to think a situation through, he ignorantly not only takes himself out of our ranks but cruelly deprives his children/grand children of even thinking about it. I wonder if he realizes he just put the video game controller in their hands and flicked on the computer....

J3cub wrote:
July 20, 2011

Good job! I was surprised to see you also included the unfortunate addition of other hunters to the anti-hunting crowd. If one loves to hunt with a particular type of gun, such as a muzzle loader or long bow, that's great, but one should not fight to prevent someone else from choosing the type of hunting weapon they wish to use. We see this type of debate when it comes to crossbows, or modern inline muzzle loaders. How sad!

Ozark Charlie wrote:
July 20, 2011

Because of the hi-tech hunters like Mr. Urban Hunter. I ceased being a hunter after 50+ years and made the decision not to bring my grand kids into the sport. So you can all take your hi-tech gizmos and call the deer right to your feeders, but me, I'm done. It is no longer my fight. I never will let my grand kids hear "why did you shoot that little thing." Frankly, todays hunting community largely sucks.

urban_hunter wrote:
July 20, 2011

Hmm. you ble a great opportunity to reverse the stereotype that all hunters are back woods rednecks. there are plenty of us that live in the urban environment, shoot competitions, bowhunt in the city limits, drive out to leases and hunt, and do it all while downloading gigabytes of hunting reports and handloading datasheets on our smartphones. "Slower paced introspective lifestyle" - wow, that is a gross generalization of the rural community dont you think? Some of the busiest people I know live in rural places.

John C. Gosselin wrote:
July 20, 2011

Bravo! Nicely done article! To add to Don's highly valid "Slob Hunter" comment, we very much need to educate those within our ranks. The most poignant example of this is anyone that shoots holes in a road sign. They might as well rent bill board space that says "We are gun owners, we are stupid and irresponsible, please take our guns away from us!" Somehow, we need to get the message to these asinine individuals that jeapordize our rights with the very same instruments and the ownership and use of we are trying to protect. The same goes for those who litter the landscape with spend cartridges and leave behind whatever "targets" they were shooting at. All of this can do nothing but sway those in the middle ground over to the side of the anti-gun movement.

Groundhogger wrote:
July 19, 2011

Good write up. I'd like to add that us aging boomers need to get our grandkids out there and introduce them to hunting, fishing and all things outdoors. It's another way to keep the traditions alive.

Don Keirn wrote:
July 19, 2011

Very well done and I couldn't agree more. In the "Hunter"section I would add "Slob Hunters" which give us all a bad name and provide more "ammo for the Antis"