Friday, March 25, 2011

Sportsmen for Lies and Propaganda

You know when your right-wing, politically motivated propaganda is disavowed by the uber-conservative National Rifle Association, you're treading new ground in the conservation arena.

Pardon me. That should read, "conservation" arena.

I give you Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, which turned heads a couple weeks back when someone on the staff sent out a news release claiming the NRA, Safari Club International and the Congressional Sportsmen Caucus, among other right-leaning groups with a dog in the hunting rights right, all opposed the effort to delist wolves from under the Endangered Species Act and return their management to the states where the top-tier predators live. Wisely, the NRA, SCI and CSC all support the delisting efforts and the plan for state management. It's likely the only way in the near future that hunters will have a (legal) shot at wolves in the West.

And, when the SFW release hit the media world, all three organizations above immediately cried foul. And rightly so. They cautioned the media and members of Congress to "thoroughly investigate and independently confirm" any claims made by Utah-based SFW. Good advice.

Apparently, simply delisting the wolves and having them managed in a common-sense manner by states that would treat the critters as game animals, just isn't enough for the foam-at-the-mouthers at SFW. The idea, evidently, is that delisting them and having them managed as anything other than vermin is unacceptable. Welcome to the All or Nothing Club, SFW. I'd like you to meet your fellow members, starting with the douchebags at Eart First! and ending with the booger-eaters at Lobo Watch. Don't worry... you'll fit right in.

But I'm deluding myself, and you, if you're paying attention. SFW has always been in this club. This is a group that claims on its website to represent sportsmen by protecting habitat and seeking ways to increase wildlife populations across the West, but wouldn't get involved in the effort to protect over a million acres of prime wildlife habitat in the Wyoming Range from future oil and gas extraction. They also rarely, if ever, get involved in efforts to restore native fish populations in the West, assuming instead that, so long as there are hatcheries, we'll have fish. So much for that "habitat" argument.

But the real kicker is that this group, again, according to its website, has 15,000 members. That's just plain scary. Here we have an organization that's willing to play fast and loose with the reputations of other sportsmen-oriented organizations, all while it claims to represent sportsmen on its own. Imagine the damage this group is doing by "representing" sportsmen before Congress on issues like wolf management, habitat protection and natural resources discussions that will impact our sporting success well into the future.

More importantly, the black eye SFW just received when the NRA, SCI and CSC called them out for their unethical and underhanded activities is shared among all hunters and anglers.

Be careful which group you join, folks. SFW isn't worth your charity dollars, not if you want to keep your integrity when you claim the donation on your tax return. You especially shouldn't join a group that's now officially an Adversary of the Sporting State.