Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Toothless Motorheads Find a New Hero!

So, we all know these days that Congress is out to cut our federal deficit and trim away wasteful government spending. Nobody, not even the most liberal, left-wing, bordering-on-Marxist zealot, can dispute the need to bring some fiscal common sense to Washington.

But, as is typical of the smarmy cretins that seem penetrate our government with agendas that are more political than they are representative, even this process, which should involve sacrifice from all corners, is now laced with vitriol and the seedy agendas of those who would scuttle progress in favor of pleasing a few special interests.

And sportsmen are going to take another shot to the pooper if we're not careful.

Congressman Wally Herger standing up for... himself.
The culprit? U.S. Rep. Wally Herger, a Republican from California. He's introduced an amendment to a House resolution that's actually rife with amendments that are, at best, harmful to our natural resources and to the sporting public. But Herger's amendment, which would nix the U.S. Forest Service's six-year effort to manage travel on land it manages, might be the most egregious, and it would certainly have an impact on hunters and fishermen who value hunting and fishing on public lands without some obese, toothless goober motoring up the trail behind him and asking, "Seen any elk?" before he charges through an adjacent trout stream on his way uphill.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Adversary of the Sporting State: Montana Rep. Jeff Welborn

It's simple, really. Follow the money.

Now, in this case, it's not a hell of a lot of money, but after reading a post in Yellowstone Country Fly Fishing about a Montana state representative who's trying to undo much of the good that was done a couple years back, when the state Legislature finally cleared up exactly what "public access" was in Montana, even a little bit of money can make some folks undertake foolish errands.

So, here's what's happening (the short version). Rep. Jeff Welborn, a Republican rancher from Dillon, Montana, is trying to hamstring the state's incredibly foresighted public access law that allows anglers to follow navigable waterways on foot, so long as they stay within the high-water mark of those streams and access them from public rights of way (like a highway bridge, for instance). The big argument a couple years back was really over what constituted waterways, and what were deemed private "ditches" and off limits to the wandering fishers.

After years of legal wrangling that involved folks like pop-rocker Huey Lewis and his claim that Mitchell Slough on the Bitterroot River that runs through his property is actually a private impoundment (it ain't, Huey... you may believe in the Power of Love, but you apparently couldn't give a rat's ass about public access), the Legislature and then-state Rep. Kendall Van Dyk, a Democrat from Billings, made it clear what constituted public access and what didn't.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Lobo Watch: This Week's Adversary of the Sporting State

You know how I feel about extremists, and how extremism–in any fashion, from any political perspective–quells sensible debate and brings emotion, vitriol and unproductive rhetoric to any discussion. This week's Adversary of the Sporting State would have you believe he's a sportsman, himself. Truth be told, he's just another foam-at-the-mouther with an axe to grind.

Toby Bridges runs the website Lobo Watch, I'm assuming out of his mom's basement in Missoula, Montana. He's an affirmed hater of the gray wolf (honestly, this isn't just another post about wolves), but his hatred, of late, is being shotgunned around the conservation world, and he's challenging some organizations that have built their reputations on protecting wildlife habitat and hunter and angler opportunity in this country.

One of Toby's latest manifestos is aimed at the National Wildlife Federation and its state affiliates, specifically the Montana Wildlife Federation. If you believe the rhetoric coming from Lobo Watch, you likely think the NWF and the MWF are front organizations for Earth First! and are a hindrance, not a help, to the sporting public. Truth be told, there might not be a more effective, more moderate conservation organization in the country, but don't tell that to Toby. He's convinced this national conservation organization and its Montana state affiliate are out to shut hunters down.