Great News! The “Sportsmen’s” Act is Dead…for Now

Great news—the “Sportsmen’s” Act of 2012 did not get past the Senate. Ironically, it was the Republicans that killed the bill. Not because of any great concern for wilderness or wildlife—quite the opposite; they just didn’t like how much of the budget the bill allocated for conservation projects.

What really doesn’t make sense is why every Democrat (except for Senator Barbara Boxer) voted to approve a bill with a main goal of opening up even more public lands for hunters. Why, for instance, did my two Senators from Washington State approve of a bill that would have allowed for the importation of “trophy” polar bear carcasses from Canada, undermining the ESA? And what did they stand to gain by giving a de facto federal thumbs-up to lead buckshot and other ammunition that have already poisoned so many birds, including endangered condors?

We dodged the bullet this time, but in the years to come there are sure to be other “sportsmen’s” acts rearing their hideously ugly heads (I was just going to say “ugly heads,” until I saw that one of my regular readers used the fitting adverb “hideously” before “ugly head” in reference to these contemptible acts). We can count on more puff about allowing bowhunting in parklands where wildlife is currently protected, more trophy hunters whining against regulations and most nauseating of all, politicians of both parties waxing poetic about hunting.

Hell, some people won’t be satisfied until Ted Nugent’s (hideously ugly) head is carved into Mt. Rushmore alongside Teddy Roosevelt’s.

17 thoughts on “Great News! The “Sportsmen’s” Act is Dead…for Now

  1. Its just as important to ask and call our senators about this question, why did they support this act? It will rear its hideous head again for sure this is the 4th revision. Please cal all your congress and senators and ask them to prevent expansion of hunting into the public lands that are used as refuges for wildlife. Not all of them are and most wildlife are subjected to hideously long killing seasons!

  2. If anyone is looking for talking points or wants to use my letter please go ahead.
    This is what I wrote and have made many calls about.

    Dear Senator Kerry,

    There are some things we don’t get a second chance at. Preserving ecological integrity in places that we have set aside for wildlife and humans to be free from killing, to remain wild and unmolested, falls into that category. The threats our wildlife face come from many directions, loss of habitat, trophy hunters, poaching, conflicts with humans and or human-based activities, as well as the hardships of living in the wild as predator or prey. The last thing we need right now is to open our national parks or wilderness areas, that do not allow hunting, to more killing. Our public lands are already minefields for wildlife and people, as well as our pets. In this world of internet access and social media we see evidence of wildlife abuse daily. Trappers boast online about littering public lands with traps and snares, hunters poach wild animals like wolves and promote the sss shoot shovel and shut up code of ethics or may brag about gut shooting an animal to make it suffer and avoid having to claim it as a kill. Often wolves, coyotes and other predators take the worst abuses. Its become “sporting” to torture and maim wildlife. In the best of circumstances, most wildlife spend 6-9 months a year dodging bait traps, bullets, arrows, snares, traps, cable restraints, poisons or being chased down by packs of dogs. Our national wilderness and public areas should provide some refuge for wildlife, and for the majority of Americans who do not agree with this nonstop culture of killing. There is a new hunting ethos that does not subscribe to fair chase or humane hunting, but celebrates killing.
    In addition to opening up our wilderness to more pressure from hunting, the sportsman heritage act would also prevent NEPA review of the effects of hunting on non-target species and their habitats and prevent EPA regulations on lead ammunition, a problem that is causing great damage to ecosystems and the wildlife that rely on healthy habitats. Its unconscionable to allow this bill to bypass regulatory oversight, that has withstood the rigor of public approval and scrutiny, and that was designed to protect all of us from abuses related to excessive and rampant consumptive uses that degrade our environment, wildlife and wilderness.
    We are squandering our natural resources with lightning speed and with little regard for the future at the expense of future generations of Americans and against the majority opinion. This bill is being pushed by lobbyists like the NRA, Safari Club International and other special interest groups that, if left to their own, will turn our public lands into hunting zoos. Many Americans do not support hunting and do not want to have our public lands and wilderness turned into killing fields for a sport to satisfy people who want to kill for fun, and when you get right down to it that’s what trophy hunting is. This bill is not designed for hunters who hunt for food, its designed to promote and enhance trophy hunting. Trophy hunting is an unsustainable pastime that needs reevaluation in light of current pressures on wildlife. I believe as do many Americans that this bill poses a significant threat to our wildlife and wilderness. I am vehemently opposed to this legislation and urge you to vote against it in total.

    • I agree. Great letter, thank you. I realize the NRA bullies people into supporting its agenda,but it’s perverse that so many legislators succumb to the influence of hunting bills like this, particularly when you consider that hunters are just 13.7 million of our population. That’s a figure that should be cited and over and over again to dissuade people from fearing the influence of this dramatically minor minority. (Wildlife photographers, birders, and wildlife watchers number around 77 million, by comparison, a growing number.)

    • You just did, Gail, now we’re talking about coyotes;) According to the article you linked here, the rancher says he “has to” kill coyotes… An alternative would be not raising 3,000 sheep! I’d hate to see how overgrazed that land is! There’s a chapter in my book devoted to coyotes and the sheep ranchers who are intent on killing them. In it, I quote Edward Abbey: “I’ve never met a coyote as dumb as a sheepman.” Certainly not as cruel, I would add.

  3. I hope everyone takes note and long remembers that all but one Democratic senator (the inimitable Barbara Boxer) were too cowardly to buck the “sportsmen” constituency and voted in favor of this abominable legislation. Not one of them who supported this bill will ever get my vote, much less a campaign contribution from me, ever again. If you needed further evidence that the legislative branch of the US government is little more than a parliament of whores, I can scarcely think of a better example.

    Meanwhile, at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, we’ve got a Chief Executive who appears totally clueless and/or disinterested in pretty-much all animal-related issues (and he was the better of the choice between slime and slimier-still!). President Obama’s ability to nonetheless send “tingles down the legs” of limousine liberals striving, as is their seeming perpetual want, to publicly demonstate their absolute intolerance of racism, human rights abuses and all manner of political incorrectitude, establishes beyond all doubt the utter hypocrisy and vainity of American “democracy.” And that third branch of the US Government, given its recent decisions in animal welfare matters, makes the other two branches look good by comparison! A better argument for abandoning conventional politics and moving toward direct-action tactics on behalf of animal rights would be, to my mind, hard to conceive.

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