Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN Hunting

Divided We Fall, United We Will Prevail

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Hunters have countless, well-funded, politically sophisticated enemies whose goal is to end our enjoyment of America`s mountains, fields, woods and wetlands: Chief among them is the $120 million-a-year Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). Its president, Wayne Pacelle, claimed at a California campaign event that, "Only 7 percent of Americans are hunters. That means there are more of us than there are of them. . . . We are going to use the ballot box and the democratic process to stop all hunting in the United States. . . . We will take it species by species until all hunting is stopped in California. Then we will take it state by state.”

In light of the clear and present danger posed by Pacelle and many others, it seems logical that hunters of all stripes would gather together and draw a line in the sand whenever any form of hunting is threatened. You`d think that hunters would establish a united front and commit to fighting to the last man or woman.

The unfortunate truth, however, is that division often exists within the hunting community that Wayne Pacelle and others foment. They know it is easier to conquer a divided force. Some shortsighted hunters too often agree with the hunting ban advocates that certain forms of hunting should be ended or severely curtailed. All hunters must remember that, contrary to Pacelle`s recently toned-down rhetoric, the antis don`t really care how or what we hunt-they care that we hunt.

Only 7 percent of Americans are hunters. That means there are more of us than there are of them. . . . We are going to use the ballot box and the democratic process to stop all hunting in the United States. . . . We will take it species by species until all hunting is stopped in California. Then we will take it state by state.

--Wayne Pacelle, president,
Humane Society of the United States

Hunters should learn from the experience of the much larger gun-owning community in 1993, when the Clinton administration sought the most extensive gun ban in U.S. history. Clinton and his anti-gun friends in Congress said they were only after the "scary looking" so-called "assault weapons" and that "average gun owners" had nothing to fear. (Substitute a few words and it sounds a lot like Pacelle`s claims when he seeks hunting bans.) Some gun owners fell for this lie hook, line and sinker, despite NRA’s best efforts.

Shotgunners were the most likely to fall for the ruse. They had their high-gloss, engraved skeet guns and had no personal interest in ever owning a semi-automatic rifle made of parkerized metal and black synthetic furniture. NRA worked diligently to convince them that all gun owners, regardless of immediate self-interest, must stand united against the ban, not only on principle, but to prevent additional bans. We warned that the definition of an "assault weapon" would continue to expand in the future until it included the same guns the shotgunners assumed would always be safe from the gun grabbers` reach.

In the years following the imposition of the 1994 ban, the usual suspects proved us right by falling over themselves in an effort to expand the list of banned guns. For example, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., co-sponsored S. 1431, a bill that proposed to dramatically expand the ban by defining all of the semi-automatic shotguns commonly used by the nation`s duck, goose and upland bird hunters as "assault weapons:` During his 2004 presidential run, it was comical to see how hard he worked to avoid being seen on the campaign trail with one of these common hunting guns.

The gig was up when some union leaders finally forced a Remington 11-87 semi-auto shotgun into his hands during a surprise gift presentation at a West Virginia campaign stop. There he was, the faux hunter, holding a gun he wanted to keep all honest, hard-working Americans from acquiring.

Unwittingly, Kerry did more to convince gun owners to stand united than any person on the pro-freedom side of the fight ever could have done. This was evident during our successful effort to see the 1994 ban sunset in 2004. Gun owners--from those who collect Revolutionary War muskets to those who must have the latest and greatest AR-15s--learned that any erosion of freedom leaves all of us with less ground to defend. It leaves those still standing that much closer to being pushed off the cliff.

The good news is that the vast majority of hunters already understand the gravity of the situation. The problem is that we can`t afford to take a major policy loss in order to get the holdouts on board. We all know how difficult freedoms are to reclaim` once they`ve been lost.

What kinds of potential policy losses might be on the horizon? It`s no secret that HSUS believes that bow hunting is vulnerable. They know that if they can end bow hunting, other forms of hunting are within reach. Here is what Michael Markarian, HSUS`s top lobbyist, wrote in his March 17 Legislative Fund blog opposing a bill that would allow bow hunting on Sundays in New Jersey:

". . . the use of primitive archery equipment is one of the most inhumane and inefficient ways to kill an animal. Archers routinely spend hours tracking the blood trails of deer struck by arrows before the animals finally bleed to death. Three decades of research tell us that bowhunting has about a 50-percent crippling rate-for every deer struck by arrows and retrieved by bowhunters, another wounded deer is crippled and disappears, to die slowly."

It`s not a matter of "if" but "when" HSUS makes a real run at a bowhunting ban in select states. Will all hunters rush to the defense of this one discipline pursued by only 25 percent of all hunters? If rifle and shotgun hunters do not defend bow hunters, who do they think will be the next targets? No hunter should stand on the sidelines while HSUS gains momentum toward its ultimate goal of banning all hunting.

Private hunting preserves are another such issue. Will hunters who only hunt on public land help defend hunting preserves, knowing that banning hunting on national wildlife refuges is also a top agenda item for HSUS? And it`s obvious that hunting on the millions of acres of national forest land across the country is the next step in our opponents` incremental campaign.

This struggle cannot be limited to a good defense. We must collectively continue to push for more hunting opportunities across the board. These efforts promise to bring more people to the hunter ranks, something that is badly needed at a time when only 69 new hunters enter the fields and forests for every 100 who permanently quit hunting.

There is no place for selfishness in the battle to promote hunting. More hunters in the woods is a good thing by all objective measures, even if it means that someone else kills the big, elusive buck we`ve been after for years. More hunters now mean that future generations will continue to enjoy hunting as we have. Pacelle made it clear in the quote cited at the outset that he seeks to take full advantage of hunters` minority status in today`s political arena.

All hunters must stand together in defense of our hunting heritage, despite which individual types of hunting we choose to enjoy. If we stand united to oppose all measures that diminish hunting opportunities and support all that expand them, it will mean more hunters in the `woods. This translates to more defenders at the ballot boxes and state capitols. More than anything else, this will disrupt the anti-hunters` sinister plans for our demise.

IN THIS ARTICLE
Hunting/Conservation
TRENDING NOW
NRA-ILA Backed Lawsuit Filed Challenging Oregon Measure 114

Thursday, December 1, 2022

NRA-ILA Backed Lawsuit Filed Challenging Oregon Measure 114

Today an NRA-backed lawsuit was filed challenging Ballot Measure 114, which voters passed by a slim margin last month. Measure 114 creates a falsely labeled “permit to purchase” a firearm requirement and bans standard capacity magazines, which it ...

NY AG James Sends Threatening Letter to Ammunition Sellers

News  

Monday, November 21, 2022

NY AG James Sends Threatening Letter to Ammunition Sellers

In a move that surprised absolutely nobody, anti-gun New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) announced last week that she would expand her assault on the Second Amendment by targeting ammunition sellers. AG James claimed, ...

Recent ATF Action Shows Need for Suppressor Reform

News  

Monday, March 14, 2022

Recent ATF Action Shows Need for Suppressor Reform

As we reported last week, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”) denied approximately 850 Form 1 applications for prospective makers of suppressors on February 28. These denials were apparently made due to ...

Maryland: Montgomery County Passes Carry Restrictions

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Maryland: Montgomery County Passes Carry Restrictions

Maryland’s most anti-gun county has continued its tantrum, lashing out against lawful carry in the only way it thinks it can. Yesterday, the Montgomery County Council voted unanimously to pass Bill 21-22E, to remove the exemption ...

Colorado: Broomfield City Moves to Adopt Gun Control Package to Diminish Second Amendment Rights!

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Colorado: Broomfield City Moves to Adopt Gun Control Package to Diminish Second Amendment Rights!

Earlier this week, Broomfield City Council advanced a gun control package to impose on law-abiding citizens.  The second reading will be held in January.  In truth, none of the slew of regulations will stop criminals ...

Hawaii: Honolulu Seeks to Severely Restrict Carry

Monday, November 28, 2022

Hawaii: Honolulu Seeks to Severely Restrict Carry

Tomorrow, Tuesday, November 29th, the Honolulu City Council will hear an ordinance to prohibit citizens from exercising their right-to-carry in many places. This is an attempt to ignore the U.S. Supreme Court’s NYSRPA v. Bruen ...

Public Lands Lawsuit Settled—All Lands Remain Open to Hunting

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Public Lands Lawsuit Settled—All Lands Remain Open to Hunting

In 2020, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service expanded hunting and fishing opportunities on more than 2.3 million acres of land. That decision was challenged in federal court, and the NRA, Safari Club International, Sportsmen’s ...

NRA Achieves Historical Milestone as 25 States Recognize Constitutional Carry

News  

Friday, April 1, 2022

NRA Achieves Historical Milestone as 25 States Recognize Constitutional Carry

Half the country will now enjoy the freedom to carry a handgun for self-defense without a permit from the state thanks to the tireless efforts of men and women of the National Rifle Association. 

CA DOJ Gun Owner Data Leak Due to “Deficiencies in Policies, Procedures, and Inadequate Oversight” Study Finds

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

CA DOJ Gun Owner Data Leak Due to “Deficiencies in Policies, Procedures, and Inadequate Oversight” Study Finds

Today, the California Department of Justice announced an independent study was completed regarding the recent data leak of gun owner information. The study found that while the leak was not intentional, it was "due to a number of ...

CPRC: FBI Wrong – Armed Citizens Stopped at Least 34% of “Active Shooter” Attacks

News  

Monday, October 17, 2022

CPRC: FBI Wrong – Armed Citizens Stopped at Least 34% of “Active Shooter” Attacks

Recent polling indicates that an increasing number of Americans view the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) with distrust and disfavor. The results of a national survey conducted in August by Rasmussen Reports found that a majority of voters asked ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.