by J. Scott Olmsted - Wednesday, October 15, 2014
“Give us the ammo to save your hunting license”: That is the message of the NRA Hunters’ Leadership Forum (HLF). Launched in April at the 2014 NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits in Indianapolis, HLF assembles a collection of leaders from across the hunting world dedicated to the enrichment and growth of the NRA’s mission to promote and defend hunting.
The Forum is the brainchild of NRA President James W. Porter II, who in Indianapolis declared attacks on hunting and hunters “a cultural war.” It must be countered with equal effort, he said, and the HLF is formed to do just that. “The reason you all are here today,” Porter told those assembled in April, “is because you all are people of influence in the hunting and wildlife conservation arena.” Every man and woman who joins HLF is by default uniquely positioned to lead efforts in his or her circles of influence, and, therefore, fight for hunting, one hunter at a time if necessary. Moreover, HLF membership, via its philanthropy, is uniquely positioned to help shape communication efforts to fight the cultural war against hunting. One message to make crystal clear: “There is no better conservation tool than a hunter with a firearm,” said Porter.
Indeed, every American Hunter reader, by default, is a conservationist.
“The other reason why we’re here today,” Porter continued, “is to tell the NRA’s story: It is the best-kept secret in this country. The overwhelming majority of our members are hunters. Therefore, they are conservationists. We pay the bills. We’re the reason you have public hunting lands in this country.”
That means NRA members, if only via membership dues, are responsible for the benefits every American hunter enjoys.
“They call the NRA the ‘gun lobby,’ and we are the gun lobby. We are the protectors of the Second Amendment. But we’re also the protectors of the other constitutional amendments, and the core values of our country. But we do so much for hunting and wildlife conservation. ILA, our legislative arm, is in every state legislature, year in and year out, dealing with conservation-related issues, hunting-related issues—constitutional amendments to protect the right to hunt, for instance. The NRA has the muscle,” he said. “We’re the only ones who’ve got the muscle.”
To that end, at a symposium of HLF President’s Founders’ Club members in August, attention turned to promoting everything the NRA does for hunters. The attached sidebar outlining the organization’s efforts is provided with that in mind. It is hoped every hunter who reads it will cut it out and use it to promote the message that the NRA fights for hunters every day, everywhere—always has, always will.
The NRA will tell this story and many more, led by the HLF, whose goal is to focus influence, abilities and assets. It brings together dedicated hunters, distinguished leaders in their professions and in the field, who will provide leadership for its members to influence issues critical to the stewardship and perpetuation of America’s hunting heritage.
We all know too many hunters who don’t understand what the NRA does for them and for hunting overall. We all see big-shot anti-hunters enter this cultural war and spend big bucks against us. Now we all will see the NRA harness big shots of the hunting world. Now the hunting world will flex its muscles. The HLF will build an alliance dedicated to fight for the rights and privileges of hunters across the land, one man and one woman at a time.
Rest easy, American hunter, the NRA has your back.
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