Saturday, January 29, 2011

Far Left and Far Right ... More in Common that You Might Think

When it comes to natural resource policy in the West, the moderate, middle-of-the-road citizen lacks a voice. That's because the extremists on the far left and the far right get so worked up that they monopolize public meetings, spit vitriol into microphones and spend a good portion of their time holed up in their rickety cabins hammering away at their manifestos.

Unfortunately, the sad reality is that the extremists have more numerous and more effective avenues from which to preach their message, and, quite frankly, they're sensational behavior is more sexy to the press. But what those of us who gather closer to the center of the political spectrum are beginning to realize is that the far left and the far right have more in common than they do with the people who listen quietly, ponder important issues and then work to actually get things done. Our voices might not be loud, but we tend to get the heavy lifting done, even if it takes a while.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Adversary of the Sporting State

I thought I'd start a new feature at the Political Sportsman, largely because ethical hunters and anglers all over the country are faced with real threats from some of the folks who purport to defend our rights to fish and hunt, all the while working with special interests to erode our opportunities, often right under our noses.

And, rather than stoop to Tea Bagger rhetoric or place a "surveyor's symbol" over the district of the politician who, through his or her actions, is harming our hunting and fishing way of life, I just decided to go with something respectful, yet blatantly clear to both the hunting public these people impact, and to the politicians and agency officials themselves, who by word or deed, diminish the uniquely American pastimes of hunting and fishing on land belonging to every citizen of the state. Hence, the title Adversary of the Sporting State.

Friday, January 21, 2011

There's Hope Yet...

If you're reading this, chances are, you've arleady ventured by Hal Herring's Field and Stream blog, "The Conservationist." And if you've been paying attention over the last week or so, you're probably encouraged.

And rightly so.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Big Bad Wolf ... Not the One You're Thinking Of

Why it took U.S. Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar two years to restore administrative authority to the Bureau of Land Management when it comes to protecting some of the best hunting and fishing country in the West is beyond me. But predictably, it took extremists like U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop about five minutes to start whining about the return to the way things used to–and ought to–be.

Back when Gale Norton occupied Salazar's office in D.C., she conspired with the likes of Bishop to effectively hamstring the BLM and prohibit the federal land management agency from, well, managing land. Specifically, Bishop and his bought-and-paid-for buddies in Congres didn't want any more wilderness  or wilderness study areas on public land, particularly in Utah. See, wilderness locks out industrial development while protecting fish and wildlife habitat. In other words, Bishop's campaign financiers (read, the extractive industry lobby) would be unable to drill, mine, rape and pillage on land belonging to every single American if that land–worthy as might be–were to be designated as wilderness or a wilderness study area.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Foaming at the Mouth

I learned a new term this week to describe the rabid extremists out there. Thanks to the blog, Eat More Brook Trout, I now have a phrase to describe the over-the-top folks who want things their way, or no way at all. Foam-at-the-Mouthers.

I love it, and I'm shameless commandeering it from that blog (my apologies). And it applies to both extremes of the political spectrum, especially in the sporting and environmental communities. I'd lump in the nuts at PETA with the equally egregious anti-wolf whack jobs who are intent on trying to convince the huddled masses that the wolves reintroduced into the Northern Rockies are a subspecies new to the American side of the border (because, you know, with tightened security at the check station, they weren't able to cross over into the United States for lack of valid passports).

Extremism is a bad idea in any form, but to legitimate hunters and anglers who understand that habitat is the great equalizer, not whether we have too many–or two few–predators on the ground, the extreme right-winger can be just as harmful as the hard-core green weenie. These extremists are the guys who have identified a scapegoat (wolves, for instance) and have zeroed in on it so closely that they've lost touch with the big picture.

As most good hunters and anglers know, habitat is the key to a healthy ecosystem. The things that really matter are water quality, availability of cover and forage, access from winter range to calving and feeding grounds and back... you know, HABITAT. If you have good habitat, you'll have good game herds, no matter what country the wolves in the neighborhood have stamped on their passports.