Non- and anti-hunters on game commissions

Turkeytider

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As More Gen Zs, Gen Xs, and whatever other alphabet generations come along and assume positions of political influence, fewer hunters and fishermen ( and women ) will be on the landscape. Guns, ALL guns, are evil and ANYTHING consumptive when it comes to wildlife ( sound land and game management practices be damned ) will also be evil.
 
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Isn’t wildlife owned by the citizens of the state it resides in? If so, whether a citizen is a hunter, wildlife watcher, anti hunter, etc, every citizen of the state owns it.

It sucks but it seems like any citizen of a state has just as much right to say what should happen with wildlife they own as much as a hunter does.
 

Macintosh

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Ive been involved in fighting this in Vt. The article cites protect our wildlife, the person quoted is a apparently non-working ($$$???) person who moved to vt a decadenor so ago and does this as a full time job. I thinknits clear her time is paid for by out of state organizations. They’ve done a very good job in spinning the narrative to gatner support for bans on trapping, hounding, etc. it’s only when you dig deeper that you see the arbitrary nature of almost everything they’re pushing for, and the outright denial of science based on their ideology that wildlife should only be utilized where necessary, rather than where it’s possible in a sustainable way.
The part that is missing from the article, is that the bill is now sitting in the environment and energy committee in our house, I don’t believe they’ve scheduled testimony on it yet, so we’ll see where it goes, but if you’re inclined, you should write into the committee and tell them you’re opposed to it.

This is a direct retaliation against the current board issuing regulations around trapping and coyote hunting. That was exactly what the legislature required a year ago, but they didn’t like the end result, and a judge already ruled that the regulations they put in place did meet legislative intent. Because of this, rather than asking them to go back to the drawing board, or refine the regs, or even to include other perspectives on the board, they’ve decided to completely do away with the board so they can control it better. The result is that all hunting and fishing regulations would now come directly from the commissioner, rather than from a board. It sounds like science should be more front and center, right? But the commissioner is a single political appointee who has control over hiring and firing of any biologists, what biologist is going to speak up at risk of their job? Maybe some, but it puts all of the rulemaking authority in the hands of ONE political appointee, with only token oversight. All it takes is one bad governor to put one anti-hunting political appointee in place, and they have complete control over all rulemaking. That’s why it’s critical that the rulemaking is established by a board of some sort, whether it’s the current one or not. This bill needs to die FAST. Even the folks who don’t believe in hunting should be worried about all rulemaking authority in the hands of one person, depending on the person, it could be bad, no matter what your opinions are.
Also, it still discounts the funding source from hunting, the protect our wildlife information they’re sending around has cherry- picked one year of data where there was an appropriation from a different state agency for the purpose of buying some land for a wildlife management area transferred to F&W to make it look like the general fund contributes more, but it’s been very consistent over the last decade that our general fund only contributes about 25% of the funding for the agency. the rest is split almost 50-50 between license fees and federal Pittman Robertson and Dingell Johnson funds, so hunters and anglers are footing 75% of the funding—plus hunting and angling-related contributions to the general fund—even though fully half or more of the departments budget is spent on non-game related work such as boating enforcement, zoning reviews, endangered and threatened species recovery, landowner habitat assistance, etc. I’m all for including other viewpoints if science is front and center, the fallacy is that someone who doesn’t contribute to the public trust of wildlife should have their ideological preferences on hunting regulations be given the same consideration as someone who does contribute to the public trust, when there is a grand total of zero documentation that these regulations have any negative effect whatsoever on anyone’s ability to watch or enjoy wildlife, however they please.

You can tell the committee all of this and more here. PLEASE send a letter!
 
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Koda_

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Isn’t wildlife owned by the citizens of the state it resides in? If so, whether a citizen is a hunter, wildlife watcher, anti hunter, etc, every citizen of the state owns it.

It sucks but it seems like any citizen of a state has just as much right to say what should happen with wildlife they own as much as a hunter does.
While this is true, its typically the hunters and fishing community that had done the most to conserve wildlife.

Hikers etc. and environmentalist groups do not care about hunting traditions and generally want to eliminate that resource for wildlife management.
 

Macintosh

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Isn’t wildlife owned by the citizens of the state it resides in? If so, whether a citizen is a hunter, wildlife watcher, anti hunter, etc, every citizen of the state owns it.

It sucks but it seems like any citizen of a state has just as much right to say what should happen with wildlife they own as much as a hunter does.
Yes, the question is whether this is an attempt to undermine the existing conservation system we have, and what guard rails are in place in this or any legislation to make sure that someone is basing their decisions as much as possible on science, rather than on preconceived ideology. it’s not your average average every day citizen who is shouting for this, it’s anti-hunting and trapping organizations who are shouting for this, and using the average citizen who isn’t a hunter as a stooge for “greater inclusivity” in order to get anti-hunters onto wildlife boards.

If my hunting opportunity was creating a negative influence on overall wildlife populations, there might be a valid point here. But so far no one has been able to point to hunting opportunity having anything but a positive influence on overall wildlife and habitat populations, regardless of how people enjoy those.
So what is the goal of people who want to put other opinions on a board that decides nothing more than hunting and fishing regulations? The reason hunters and anglers have a greater hand in setting regulations is because hunters and anglers are a major stakeholder in managing the wildlife we all enjoy, in a way that your average citizen is not. How does it make sense to minimize a major stakeholder group, when doing so has no documentable negative implications beyond offending the ideology of a very small% of society that does not believe in hunting for any reason?

So far in Vermont, none of the issues that are being cited as the reasons for this legislation, are supported by the department or the department biologists. Regulated hunting has over an 80% approval rating in Vermont according to independent polling, and even trapping has a 60% approval rating. Depending on the year you look at, somewhere between 11 and 14% of the Vermont population has held a hunting license over the past few years, and almost 20% has held a fishing license. That puts these activities on par with stuff like bicycle riding and mountain biking and hiking in terms of percentage of the population that takes part in these activities. This is purely, 100%, an ideological battle to ban trapping, ban hounding, and I believe in the future to ban other hunting activities next that they also don’t like— not based on science, but based purely on ideology. So if you have a bird dog, or a duck dog, or definitely if you have a beagle and like to hunt hares, youre next. If you like to hunt bears, youre next too. Vermont is dealing with winter ticks that are really putting a hurt on the moose population, but there are two wildlife management units in the state where the population is still above target, and the department biologists recommended a limited season, only in those two units, to keep the population density where it needs to be in order to minimize the tick load and keep the moose herd healthier — but this opportunity, and this biological management tool, will be one of the first targets under a new fish and wildlife board. We have an endangered turtle on Lake Champlain, and one of the main issues with recovering The population is meso predators like raccoons and possums and skunks preying on the eggs, and in the recovery area the department of fish and wildlife has worked with trappers to try and keep predator populations down a bit in order to foster recovery— this is also a primary target, and would have to stop.

I wouldnt say as a rule that other .org groups want to eliminate hunting, many do recognize hunting and trapping as an important management tool and consider the dept of fish and wildlife an important partner in their work. But ALL of the groups clamoring to change the system DO want to eliminate or limit hunting and trapping, and none of them have science to back up what they want, nor do they have an end target to say that the thing they’re trying to ban now (trapping, hunting with hounds, the moose hunt, etc) is where things should stop, and that they believe these other things (other hunting and angling?) are important and should remain in place.
Problem is that hunting and angling have a built-in funding source that leverages opportunity to hunt for dollars spent on conservation, which also supports non-game and general habitat conservation. It’s the fish and wildlife department who does environmental reviews for our act 250 development process— as messed up as that system is, it’s Hunters and anglers dollars who are paying for the environmental review to ensure there is wildlife habitat for everyone to enjoy, not just Hunters. We have bald eagles now, when I was growing up there were none. It was the fish and wildlife department that did that largely, along with help from other organizations, but in large part paid for by Hunters and anglers. Same with loons. Same with little brown bats. Vermont has a great wildlife habitat assistance program for landowners, that has nothing at all to do with hunting or angling, but it’s hunters and anglers who pay for it, even though everyone gets to enjoy it. So the goal of these people is to specifically limit hunting opportunity, which has direct negative implications for overall conservation funding, but they have no way to replace this funding. And, there is zero evidence that regulated hunting has ANY widespread negative impact on the things they claim to be looking for from an ecological perspective. If people were truly concerned about conservation in general, they would be looking for a way to add more conservation funding and work ON TOP OF the existing hunting and angling system, which, as far as I can see, is a win-win for hunters and non-hunters alike. But I don’t see that happening anywhere, the effort is entirely about banning or limiting existing hunting practices. Why?

So what do you think would be different or better if we put other people on a commission who’s sole job is to set hunting and fishing regulations based on data and recommendations from the department biologists, and from the extensive public feedback system that is already mandated? Do you have any good ideas on how to involve more perspectives in this process, while also ensuring that doing so isn’t undermining the mountain of good work that comes out of this system?
 
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Koda_

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If game population are healthy enough to sustain hunting, then wildlife is being conserved. Consumptive wildlife management has always produced healthy herds and balanced wildlife management. It is not unscientific, it is not outdated... dont let them gaslight the subject.

The only reason to bring anti hunters into the wildlife management decisions is because they dont like hunting and want to eliminate it. Every time anti hunting legislation has been passed its hurt game populations. They are not interested in healthy game populations, they are only interested in projecting their feelings about hunting onto society.
 
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Folks need to be alert to this and fight to keep it from happening. It's a way the anti's have figured out to end or eliminate all hunting, fishing, and trapping. It's a continual struggle but it's certainly worth it.

Check out this site called Howl For Wildlife. It's a guy who decided to try and make a difference. You can join and become a member and in turn you will get alerts periodically about wildlife related issues. The anti's have been using mass emails and such for many years now as a way to try and stop hunting, fishing, and trapping in addition to other wildlife related issues. Someone just took a page out of the anti's playbook! I'm a member. It's simple to do when a request comes for input on an issue. You can use the pre-written comments or deletate those and use your own words.

I'm a member of Montana Sportsman for Fish & Wildlife (NO affiliation at all to a similarly named Utah group!!) and we are having our annual fundraising banquet on April 20th at the Missoula County Fairgrounds (Missoula, Montana). Charles from Howl will be at our banquet and is a guest speaker. Here's a portion of what is posted on their site. I hope more folks join.

Welcome To Howl For Wildlife

North America’s wildlife & fisheries are constantly under threat. These threats are often based on misguided emotions, anthropomorphism, misunderstandings, and lack of scientific evidence. We aim to protect all wildlife from what could be their destruction if management practices are removed, however we cannot achieve our goals without the pack coming together as one to Howl For Wildlife.

Howl For Wildlife works for the conservation & management of fisheries & wildlife through science based data with action & engagement. Our actions are powerful, efficient tools for the public to utilize.

Join The Pack, Take Action. Make An Impact, Howl For Wildlife

HOWL FOR WILDLIFE - U.S.A.

Howl For Wildlife is a non-profit corporation borne out of a grassroots effort where individuals worked to quickly end S.B. 252, a bill that could have further devastated ungulate populations and removed all black bear management in California. Howl For Wildlife is the first action oriented portal where organizations, brands and individuals can work together as one pack, one HOWL to protect wildlife & science based management practices.
 
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Macintosh

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@KODA , to be fair its not only about game populations. There is a legit public interest in maintaining healthy populations of all native animals. We no longer have a fish and GAME dept, we have a fish and WILDLIFE department, that was multiple decades ago. Their mandate is in fact to do more than manage game species, which they do. The point is about whether management of hunted species is beneficial, neutral or hurts the overall population of all species. Which Im fine with, because I think with extremely few if any exceptions hunting as its applied here doesnt negatively affect other species, if anything its a net positive. I think that’s what you’re saying, but it is worth pointing out, because that sort of falls into the narrative trap of the other side.
But I think our department and the board has actually done a pretty good job of looking at things holistically, rather than only through the lens of game species.
 

Koda_

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@KODA , to be fair its not only about game populations. There is a legit public interest in maintaining healthy populations of all native animals. We no longer have a fish and GAME dept, we have a fish and WILDLIFE department, that was multiple decades ago. Their mandate is in fact to do more than manage game species, which they do. The point is about whether management of hunted species is beneficial, neutral or hurts the overall population of all species. Which Im fine with, because I think with extremely few if any exceptions hunting as its applied here doesnt negatively affect other species, if anything its a net positive. I think that’s what you’re saying, but it is worth pointing out, because that sort of falls into the narrative trap of the other side.
But I think our department and the board has actually done a pretty good job of looking at things holistically, rather than only through the lens of game species.
Im fine with managing all wildlife but that does not mean consumptive game management is outdated.
 
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While this is true, its typically the hunters and fishing community that had done the most to conserve wildlife.

Hikers etc. and environmentalist groups do not care about hunting traditions and generally want to eliminate that resource for wildlife management.

Whoever does the most should be the only ones that have a say in how wildlife should be managed. Copy copy.

Hikers don’t want wildlife they own getting killed by people. And because we as hunters disagree with that, hikers should not have a voice. Copy copy.

(Not sure why hikers got singled out)

And I’m not for anti hunters at all. But it’s not just hunters that own the wildlife. I’m trying to understand how 5% of the population should get to make all the decisions.
 
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At face value it makes sense that non-hunters have a voice in wildlife management. And in many states they do. The major issue is that the groups pushing for this have a very clear agenda, eliminate hunting. Time and time again they have shown themselves to not be good faith actors.
 

Okhotnik

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At face value it makes sense that non-hunters have a voice in wildlife management. And in many states they do. The major issue is that the groups pushing for this have a very clear agenda, eliminate hunting. Time and time again they have shown themselves to not be good faith actors.
eliminate all hunting AND banning firearms. All of these dangerous kooks are the same across the US
 

Macintosh

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@dirtytough , that makes sense on the surface, but I also think there’s more to it than that.

You said “Hikers don’t want wildlife they own getting killed by people”. That’s actually not true statistically. regulated hunting has roughly a 3/4 majority approval rating nationally, in my state it happens to be higher than 80%. So we can’t say blanket across-the-board that “most people don’t want hunters killing animals”, since a large majority support the activity. Also, I’ve never seen an example where it can be shown that regulated hunting negatively affects wildlife at a population level, So I fail to see how hunting is harming someone else’s ability to enjoy wildlife their way.
Also, in my state hunting and fishing are constitutionally protected rights, and have been since the 1700s. so someone saying they prefer that I don’t kill animals, weighed against scientifically-based sustainable hunting practices and my constitutional right, I say they can eff right off.
I have no problem with involving other perspectives on a commission for something like this, what I have a problem with is equating the science of wildlife management and the demonstrated success of that system, with someone’s preference, and affording those two things equal weight. You are correct that wildlife is a public trust, but until we can show (with data) that the trust is being damaged, no one‘s preference should be able to dictate a change in the demonstrated successful management of that trust when doing so (ie limiting opportunity) will harm one of the fundamental mechanisms for maintaining it in the first place.
 

Sled

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Sure am glad I live in Utah.


Effective 1/1/2021
Article I, Section 30. [Right to hunt and fish.]

(1)The individual right of the people to hunt and to fish is a valued part of the State's heritage and shall be forever preserved for the public good.
(2)The right under Subsection (1) includes the right to use traditional methods to hunt and to fish, subject only to statute, and rules and regulations adopted as provided by statute, to:
(a)promote wildlife conservation and management;
(b)provide reasonable regulation of hunting and fishing activities; and
(c)preserve the future of hunting and fishing.
(3)Public hunting and fishing shall be the preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife

 
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@dirtytough , that makes sense on the surface, but I also think there’s more to it than that.

You said “Hikers don’t want wildlife they own getting killed by people”.

“Hikers” was in response to the other poster using “hikers”. I don’t personally call hikers antis. I call anti hunters, anti hunters.
 

ODB

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Whoever does the most should be the only ones that have a say in how wildlife should be managed. Copy copy.

Hikers don’t want wildlife they own getting killed by people. And because we as hunters disagree with that, hikers should not have a voice. Copy copy.

(Not sure why hikers got singled out)

And I’m not for anti hunters at all. But it’s not just hunters that own the wildlife. I’m trying to understand how 5% of the population should get to make all the decisions.


I think it's because over time those 5% were the ones with the most time interest and money in the game to willfully curtail overshooting/market hunting, and to create many, many organizations that advocate for and actively work toward the end of healthy and growing herds of animals.

Remember PETA doesn't run animal shelters, and HSUS kills a shitload of animals - so... why should those wonton wasters who do not put their money or time where their mouths are get to say how to grow healthy and sustainable populations of wildlife when those of is who do have done so for a century?
 

Macintosh

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@Sled , we also have explicit constitutional
protection…yet here we are. It helps a LOT, just dont be asleep at the wheel thinking that will stop something like this in Utah, or anywhere else. Just as one example, the quoted portion of that constitutional provision does not explicitly mention trapping. You could argue that would be included in “traditional means”, but if it isn’t explicit, it’s going to get interpreted however people want short of a supreme court interpretation. And then there’s the question of what “reasonable regulation” looks like. There’s still a lot of room for some bad regulation in there, so don’t think they aren’t coming to Utah or aren’t already there working on this.
 

Sled

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@Sled , we also have explicit constitutional
protection…yet here we are. It helps a LOT, just dont be asleep at the wheel thinking that will stop something like this in Utah, or anywhere else. Just as one example, the quoted portion of that constitutional provision does not explicitly mention trapping. You could argue that would be included in “traditional means”, but if it isn’t explicit, it’s going to get interpreted however people want short of a supreme court interpretation. And then there’s the question of what “reasonable regulation” looks like. There’s still a lot of room for some bad regulation in there, so don’t think they aren’t coming to Utah or aren’t already there working on this.

Good point. Kind of like Las Vegas making decisions for Nevada. Hopefully SLC doesn't go too far to the left. Currently we have a decent board looking out for us.
 

MattB

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If game population are healthy enough to sustain hunting, then wildlife is being conserved. Consumptive wildlife management has always produced healthy herds and balanced wildlife management. It is not unscientific, it is not outdated... dont let them gaslight the subject.

The only reason to bring anti hunters into the wildlife management decisions is because they dont like hunting and want to eliminate it. Every time anti hunting legislation has been passed its hurt game populations. They are not interested in healthy game populations, they are only interested in projecting their feelings about hunting onto society.
I largely agree with you, but legitimately game department’s mandate is to manage the state’s game for its residents - not just hunters. Where is see the issue is where management takes a turn away from science and toward initiatives that are driven more by anthropomorphism.
 
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