Hunters in the Crosshairs
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Hunters in the Crosshairs

Hunters in the Crosshairs

Hunters in the Crosshairs

Posted on December 20, 2013

Recent studies show a steady increase of hunting and fishing participants since 2006.  Couple that with the public’s approval of hunting at 79 percent and wildlife populations abundant and growing, things seem to be looking up for sportsmen.  Unfortunately, these facts have not deterred the animal rights lobby and sportsmen are finding themselves in the crosshairs now more than ever.li-guns-9400465

Why are sportsmen facing more opposition considering these facts?

“It really comes down to some segments of the public not understanding why all hunting is important and key to conservation programs here and abroad.” said Nick Pinizzotto, USSA President and CEO. “Hunters are providing vital funds and services to protect wildlife globally and are also the most effective and efficient group to control burgeoning wildlife populations.  That fact has been lost to the general public to some degree.  Simply put, a lack of education is at fault.”

The irony of this opposition to hunting is that hunters are providing an invaluable service at no cost that benefits all citizens.  Here and overseas, hunters play an important role in controlling ever growing animal populations that have caused an increase in automobile accidents, health threats including the spread of Lyme disease and rabies, increased crop damage, etc.

As reported by David Von Drehle in a recent TIME magazine article titled “America’s Pest Problem: It’s Time to Cull the Herd,” the population of animals in the U.S. has increased to over 30 million and shows no sign of slowing down.

Drehle cites whitetail deer populations that are now larger than during the 13th century according to the National Wildlife Research Center. Wild hogs have reached five million strong and can be found in 48 of the 50 states, and turkeys, beavers, coyotes, and bears are just a few of the animals Drehle writes of having far exceeded their target goals in many areas.

The increase in animal populations has led some states to take action by increasing hunter bag limits, extending hunting zones and stretching shooting times to earlier and later in the day. This has led to more hunters entering the field, but with that has come more opposition, with a number of high profile organizations and hunters being targeted.

For example, the Dallas Safari Club (DSC) is under scrutiny after announcing plans to auction one black rhino hunting permit on behalf of the government of the Republic of Namibia.  Proceeds, estimated at $250,000 or more, will be returned to that African nation. Scientists and conservationists have shown support of both the auction and the hunt, stating that funding is crucial to the future of the long-revered African game species threatened by habitat loss and poaching.

Despite this, there has been a wave of opposition to the auction including email and social media death threats to Ben Carter, DSC Executive Director, and his family.

“We expected our announcement to surprise some people, but we didn’t anticipate that level of hate.” Carter said in a recent Outdoor Wire article. “People who see themselves as more evolved and as beacons of compassion, were threatening to kill my children.”

Threats included “If this happens, Ben’s kids are dead” and “The winner of this hunt will find himself in the crosshairs.”

Carter and his family are certainly not alone.

Host of the “Winchester Deadly Passion” TV show, Melissa Bachman, recently came under attack after posting a photo of a male African lion she legally harvested while on a Safari.  Anti-hunters quickly took to social media to attack Bachman, labeling her as an “animal murderer.”  Other posts included “I hope you die alone – losers. “I wish to have some money and kill you all myself” and “If I have the opportunity I will put a rifle inside Melissa’s mouth and I will shoot.”

Similarly, bronze medal Olympian Corey Cogdell was harassed and had her life threatened during her 2012 Olympic appearance after anti’s discovered her hunting history.

Recent studies show a steady increase of hunting and fishing participants since 2006.  Couple that with the public’s approval of hunting at 79 percent and wildlife populations abundant and growing, things seem to be looking up for sportsmen.  Unfortunately, these facts have not deterred the animal rights lobby and sportsmen are finding themselves in the crosshairs now more than ever.

Why are sportsmen facing more opposition considering these facts?

“It really comes down to some segments of the public not understanding why all hunting is important and key to conservation programs here and abroad.” said Nick Pinizzotto, USSA President and CEO. “Hunters are providing vital funds and services to protect wildlife globally and are also the most effective and efficient group to control burgeoning wildlife populations.  That fact has been lost to the general public to some degree.  Simply put, a lack of education is at fault.”

The irony of this opposition to hunting is that hunters are providing an invaluable service at no cost that benefits all citizens.  Here and overseas, hunters play an important role in controlling ever growing animal populations that have caused an increase in automobile accidents, health threats including the spread of Lyme disease and rabies, increased crop damage, etc.

As reported by David Von Drehle in a recent TIME magazine article titled “America’s Pest Problem: It’s Time to Cull the Herd,” the population of animals in the U.S. has increased to over 30 million and shows no sign of slowing down.

Drehle cites whitetail deer populations that are now larger than during the 13th century according to the National Wildlife Research Center. Wild hogs have reached five million strong and can be found in 48 of the 50 states, and turkeys, beavers, coyotes, and bears are just a few of the animals Drehle writes of having far exceeded their target goals in many areas.

The increase in animal populations has led some states to take action by increasing hunter bag limits, extending hunting zones and stretching shooting times to earlier and later in the day. This has led to more hunters entering the field, but with that has come more opposition, with a number of high profile organizations and hunters being targeted.

For example, the Dallas Safari Club (DSC) is under scrutiny after announcing plans to auction one black rhino hunting permit on behalf of the government of the Republic of Namibia.  Proceeds, estimated at $250,000 or more, will be returned to that African nation. Scientists and conservationists have shown support of both the auction and the hunt, stating that funding is crucial to the future of the long-revered African game species threatened by habitat loss and poaching.

Despite this, there has been a wave of opposition to the auction including email and social media death threats to Ben Carter, DSC Executive Director, and his family.

“We expected our announcement to surprise some people, but we didn’t anticipate that level of hate.” Carter said in a recent Outdoor Wire article. “People who see themselves as more evolved and as beacons of compassion, were threatening to kill my children.”

Threats included “If this happens, Ben’s kids are dead” and “The winner of this hunt will find himself in the crosshairs.”

Carter and his family are certainly not alone.

Host of the “Winchester Deadly Passion” TV show, Melissa Bachman, recently came under attack after posting a photo of a male African lion she legally harvested while on a Safari.  Anti-hunters quickly took to social media to attack Bachman, labeling her as an “animal murderer.”  Other posts included “I hope you die alone – losers. “I wish to have some money and kill you all myself” and “If I have the opportunity I will put a rifle inside Melissa’s mouth and I will shoot.”

Similarly, bronze medal Olympian Corey Cogdell was harassed and had her life threatened during her 2012 Olympic appearance after anti’s discovered her hunting history.

– See more at: http://www.ussportsmen.org/antis/hunters-in-the-crosshairs/#sthash.qhPfirND.dpuf

via Hunters in the Crosshairs | U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance.

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