Sportsmen Rally to Fight Anti-hunting, Anti-trapping Ballot Initiatives
BIC rides again…
By: Stephen S. Boynton Date: 01/9/2012 Category: | Animal Legislation |
In 1998, the Ballot Issues Coalition was created to assist state organizations in their efforts to successfully block ballot initiatives that would adversely impact wildlife management and support ballot initiatives that would favor appropriate decisions on those issues. Smarting from the losses that sportsmen and conservation interests had experienced at the ballot box in the early and mid 1990s, it was believed by various organizations that financial and personnel resources should be made available to state campaign committees that were faced with such initiatives. Hence, the birth of BIC light cavalry.
In 1998, BIC entered the battles in six ballot initiatives directly affecting wildlife management and the right to hunt, fish and trap: Alaska - ban the use of snares to control wolf populations; California - ban the use of the leg hold trap; Minnesota - adopt a constitutional amendment for the right to hunt and fish; Ohio - ban dove hunting; Utah - adopt a constitutional amendment to increase the vote necessary to establish wildlife management policies from a simple majority to a two-thirds requirement; and Wisconsin - adopt a constitutional amendment for the right to bear arms for hunting. When the smoke of battle had cleared, five of the six ballot initiatives were won by the "good guys." Unfortunately, the leg hold trap ban in California passed by a 43 percent to 57 percent margin.
As anticipated, the millennium ushered in more combat. Four state ballot initiatives will be brought before the voters in November 2000. In Washington and Oregon identical ballot initiatives would ban the use of the leg hold trap. In Arizona, a pro-active ballot initiative was passed by the state legislature to be voted on in November that would require a two-thirds vote on any future ballot initiative "that permits, limits, or prohibits the taking of wildlife, or the methods or seasons thereof.." At press time, the Alaska legislature is considering several bills that would also raise the bar on bringing ballot initiatives before the voters on wildlife management decisions.
BIC has saddled up again to become involved in both defensive and offensive skirmishes by pooling human and financial resources of national organizations to offer assistance to the respective state campaign committees: Alaska - Coalition for the Alaska Way of Life; Arizona - Arizonans for Wildlife Conservation; Oregon - Oregonians for Responsible Wildlife Management; Washington - Citizens for Responsible Wildlife Management. Battle lines are currently being drawn and swords are being sharpened.
The Board of Directors of BIC include the Archery Manufactures & Merchants Association; Congressional Sportsmen's Association; Foundation for North American Sheep; National Rifle Association; National Shooting Sports Foundation; National Trappers Association; Safari Club International; Sporting Arms & Ammunition Manufacturers Institute; and the Wildlife Management Institute. Other participants include Quail Unlimited, Izzak Walton League; The Sportsmen's Foundation; Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Field Archery Association of the US and other organizations concerned about the efforts of the well financed anti- sustainable use organizations who are attempting to end hunting, fishing and trapping in our nation through the ballot box.
Sadly, million of dollars are expended in these ballot issue campaigns that could certainly be better spent for conservation and wildlife management. However, in the 24 states that permit ballot initiatives, the "anti" crowd will undoubtedly continue to seek voters to agree with their agenda to adversely affect appropriate wildlife management and eliminate trapping, hunting and fishing.
In 1998 BIC demonstrated that it could make a difference at the ballot box. As Chairman of BIC, I sincerely believe that with continued united efforts of the conservation and sportsmen's community we can successfully lead the charge against the "anti" organizations at the ballot box.
"So, lads, when the bugle sounds, we best saddle up."
About The Author
All Authors Of This Article: | Stephen S. Boynton |