Antis Pushing for Seats on Game Commissions

Summary

Established with the single purpose of protecting and conserving wildlife, game commissions have been understandably staffed by experts in the field throughout their existence. Such experts’ ability to make responsible and effective decisions regarding wildlife management has become contested through non-sportsmen and women pushes for representation on game commissions. Having board members that are neutral on the matter or even directly oppose hunting, trapping, and fishing leads to obstructionism, which in turn will potentially restrict access and opportunity for sportsmen and women.

Introduction

Game commissions were created with a single purpose - to protect and conserve wildlife. Since their creation, these organizations have been understandably staffed by experts in the field: hunters, trappers, and fishermen and women. Utilizing their extensive knowledge of the outdoors, these board members have been able to make responsible and effective decisions regarding wildlife management. In recent years, however, people who do not hunt or trap, and in some cases are fundamentally opposed to the practices, have made pushes for representation on game commissions. They believe that commissions should represent the entire population, and not just hunters, trappers, and fishermen and women.

This new pressure for non-consumptive constituents to be on game commissions poses an alarming problem, one that directly threatens the future of conservation. It is no secret that sportsmen and women contribute an incredible amount to conservation efforts, through the purchasing of hunting licenses, stamps, and other outdoor related gear. Having board members that are neutral on the matter or even directly oppose hunting, trapping, and fishing leads to obstructionism, which in turn will potentially restrict access and opportunity for sportsmen and women. If these limitations are imposed, it follows that sportsmen’s and women’s ability to contribute to conservation efforts will dramatically decrease, putting these efforts at risk.

Points of Interest

  • In January of 2016, the last pro-hunting California Fish and Game Commissioner turned in his resignation over frustration of non-consumptive obstruction from other commissioners.
  • In at least one case, politics has been the driver of commission regulation, not sound science.
  • The addition of anti-sportsmen and women onto game commissions represents a dangerous shift in values, from conservation to preservation.

Moving Forward

It is imperative to keep hunters, trappers, and fishermen and women on game commissions, so that they may advance and protect the time-honored traditions that sportsmen and women hold dear. In addition, keeping pro-hunters on game commissions retains sportsmen’s and women’s ability to contribute to wildlife conservation through the purchasing of hunting licenses, stamps, and other outdoor related gear.

Contact

For more information regarding this issue, please contact Brent Miller at bmiller@congressionalsportsmen.org.

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