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Discussion Starter #1
For those of you that are interested, take a moment to read he following excerpt. Then I have a question and I’d like to hear what YOU think.

“Today, game agencies are involved with more than game and habitat conservation efforts. Their expanded responsibilities now include “non-game” programs like environmental protection, urban wildlife, human-wildlife conflicts, endangered-species management, and control over an expanding list of animal diseases. This growth of agency responsibilities is diluting their concentration on conservation programs while at the same time forcing them to seek alternative funding.

These developments have generated a “funding model” that makes use of hunter and angler dollars to fund “non-game” programs and other programs that are not conservation related. The use of revenue from the of sale licenses and the imposition of excise taxes once earmarked for “game” and “habitat” are now being diverted to other uses, which, although of benefit to everyone—man and beast alike—place the burden on hunters and anglers only.

In response to the need for funding to support expanding services by game agencies, some states have enacted various taxes and directed percentages of state lottery revenues to game agencies. A paradox is then created: as the pool of funding expands beyond the contributions of hunters and anglers (to include general public revenue, or even the eventuality of targeting all wildlife aficionados, such as wildlife watchers and backpackers, with fees) these new revenue-generating entities will begin to articulate their wildlife priorities, which may not be in line with those of hunters and anglers.

As the population of hunters decreases the urgency will increase to replace or expand revenue for the resources needed by growing game agencies. Although this may be an equitable option for financing non-game-related programs, it will most surely diminish the sphere of influence enjoyed by hunters and anglers with game agencies.”

The above issue is taken from my book The New Age Hunter. Part of the justification we hunters use in support of hunting is that fees from the sale of licenses, permits, and revenue from the Pitman-Robertson tax on ammo and firearms have supported game agencies. Almost 75% of funding of all game management comes from these sources – all funded by hunters.

Expanding their responsibilities as mentioned above and the need to use their funds to thwart lawsuits by the antis are overburdening game agencies. As the pressure for funding grows there’s a good chance the general public will be approached and tapped for their tax dollars or “user fees.” When this happens (and in some states it has) it will remove an important underpinning we hunters have used to justify that hunting is a benefit to our nation through funding conservation and game management efforts. Should this occur the general populace would then have a voice in game management programs.

My question is how will we justify hunting if the general population begins to fund game management programs and the majority feels that hunting is a “bad” thing?

Ant
http://www.anthonypmaurosr.com
 

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I would oppose any funding from the general fund, except for use by the endangered & NON-GAME wildlife species - such as the "Conserve Wildlife" plates benifit.

As soon as general monies are used for F&W you will have non-hunting entities (read ANTIs) stating that they contribute and want a say in how wildlife is managed instead of leaving it to the state's biologists.

JMHO
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Here's what I think if anyone's interested -

“The atmosphere surrounding hunting is not a dismal as others might have us believe. In its report, Responsive Management states,

Research indicates a large majority (67%) of Americans approve of hunting, even though only 7% of Americans hunt each year. Thirty-five percent of Americans 18 years old and older strongly approve of hunting while 32% moderately approve of hunting. Eight percent either didn’t know or were neutral about hunting. Ten percent moderately disapprove of hunting while 14% strongly disapprove of hunting. In general, almost seven out of 10 Americans approve of hunting, while fewer than 3 out of 10 Americans disapprove of hunting. (pg 161 “The New Age Hunter”)

It seems to me funding that includes non-hunters might be a real possibility in the future. The demands for funds are too great for it to be otherwise. In spite of the statistics presented above the antis will continue to intensify their position on America’s psyche. They will target the “67%” that approve of hunting and bombard them with ignorance and emotion. They will also continue to fight for a presence on F & G councils, use the courts to deplete funds, and other means in an attempt to influence game laws.

In Missouri they implemented a Statewide 1/8 cent sales tax for funding – so non-hunters also pay funds. From what I understand it is working well in Missouri, but I believe that the state has a hunting “culture” and this probably eliminates a lot of conflicts with the antis. States that are more anti-hunting would probably not enjoy such cooperation. Colorado has a new proposal for funding too.

I personally feel that EDUCATION is the key to staving off a successful anti-hunting campaign. Hunters who are educated about the workings of wildlife management programs and conservation techniques can use their knowledge to EDUCATE THE PUBLIC AT-LARGE. An educated public will make it difficult for the antis to indoctrinate or ‘confuse” people.

Maybe it would be a good idea if a few of us hunters transformed the way we look at ourselves too. Maybe we can begin to see ourselves as more than “hunters” and become knowledgeable in the basics of habitat dynamics, carrying capacity, biodiversity, conservation, and biological surplus. These are all components of a healthy balance of ecology. There are several “quick reads” available for those of us needing a refresher.

If we can educate the “non-hunting” population then they will be able to reason for themselves. It’s then possible for them to clearly see that the anti-hunting message is an empty one. If the public is educated then ultimately it won’t matter how much money the antis spend because they won’t be able to effectively influence the opinions of the non-hunters who make up the greatest portion of our country’s population.

… What do you think?

Ant
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I thought some of you might enjoy reading this post. It's got some good information. It was written by "Tom." I know Tom from being a moderator with him on a forum.

"You're correct, I agree. We'd better work on the answer more.

Texas Parks and Wildlife department tells people here the main reason we have public hunts is to manage the wildlife. The second reason is for recreational hunting.

So, hunting could still be defended as a way to manage the game for population size and sex ratio distribution and age structure, that is healthy for them. We would have to not wound many game then for sure, or the non hunter and anti hunter would be pissed for the suffering in hunting used as a managment tool, as they are already.

There's one defence aguement.

Our problems with the antis are bigger than we think.
Some of them are radical extremists, but some of them are smart. For example, Peter Singer and Tom Regan, do a search on them, they're philosophy profs.

Singer:
http://www.princeton.edu/~uchv/faculty/singercv2.pdf

Here's an interview with Singer where he discusses some animal awareness and how he argues its serious to kill an animal like that.
http://www.utilitarian.net/singer/interviews-debates/1997----.pdf

Regan:

http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/archives/exhibits/regan/

We need high powered people to promote hunting if people like that are against it. Here's a quote from Tom Regan's pages:

"All of us engaged in the struggle for animal rights have a tendency to forget who we once were. Most of us once ate meat, for example, or unblinkingly dissected nonhuman animals in the lab during high school or college biology courses. Probably we went to a zoo or an aquarium and had a good time. Some of us hunted or fished and enjoyed that, too. The plain fact is, it is not just society that needs changing. The struggle for animal rights is also a struggle with self. What we are trying to do is transform the moral zombie society would like us to be into the morally advanced being we are capable of becoming. All liberation movements have this common theme. That's only one of the ways our Movement resembles other rights movements of the past."
—Tom Regan, The Bird in the Cage: A Glimpse of My Life—An Autobiography


Our problems with defending hunting are bigger than we think. We need high powered people to deal with people like those, they're smart."
 

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What you need to realize is that with decreased license sales most agencys cannot sustain the level of services that the hunting public is used to. NJ is an example today. NJ F&W currently provides more than 5 million dollars in sevices to the general public that come out of your license monies. General tax fund monies shoulkd pay for these costs. If not we will have to start cutting people, programs and services that hunters enjoy.

A 4.2 million dollar appropriation from the general fund is hopefully being inserted into the 06 budget to keep NJ F&W alive. If not 25% of people and service will have to be cut next year.

A stable source of funding needs to be looked at in the future. Quality air, soil and water depends on the proper management of all wildlife species. Every taxpayer in NJ is effected. Every tax payer should pay.
 

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What Bacs said. There is enough meddling by politics now. The first dollar we take from the general fund will be the beginning of the end.
 

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What Bacs said. There is enough meddling by politics now. The first dollar we take from the general fund will be the beginning of the end.
Well, we're taking it in 06.

What everyone needs to realize is that hunters and anglers have been being ROBBED by the general public for these services that we pay for on our dime.

NJ Outdoor recreation brings in more than 123 MILLION dollars in tax revenue each year. It's a 2.1 BILLION dollar industry. Currently only 1.3 million makes it back to F&W coffers and that goes to marine fisheries.
 

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What you need to realize is that with decreased license sales most agencys cannot sustain the level of services that the hunting public is used to. NJ is an example today. NJ F&W currently provides more than 5 million dollars in sevices to the general public that come out of your license monies. General tax fund monies shoulkd pay for these costs. If not we will have to start cutting people, programs and services that hunters enjoy.

A 4.2 million dollar appropriation from the general fund is hopefully being inserted into the 06 budget to keep NJ F&W alive. If not 25% of people and service will have to be cut next year.

A stable source of funding needs to be looked at in the future. Quality air, soil and water depends on the proper management of all wildlife species. Every taxpayer in NJ is effected. Every tax payer should pay.
Joe as always, very good points. I still shudder at the thought of general funds, but you're right I don't think that there is any avoiding it.
 

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If I had my way we simply cut off services to the public that doesn't directly benefit hunters and anglers. Bear in Mrs. Jones's garage, too bad. Bear education? Cut. Managing state land? Not on my dime.

We all know that's not going to happen so we have to go to plan B. Get the public to pay for this. I think it's important to let them know what exactly they are paying for.
 

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My question is how will we justify hunting if the general population begins to fund game management programs and the majority feels that hunting is a “bad” thing?
I don't think the majority of the public feels hunting is a "bad thing". The majority probably doesn't have an opinion. It's more important that we concentrate on promoting the good image of hunting.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I enjoyed reading all the
comments. I'd simply like to end with the point I've been trying to make.

The state governments are going to be pressured to looking into other sources for funding
and will turn to non-hunters (the number of hunters is declining and game agencies are
being asked to do more). This is already happening in MO, AK, and CO.

In my opinion, In the states that don't have a hunting "culture" the antis will quickly begin
to press the issue that non-hunters should have more of a voice in game management. This
will include having antis on F & G game councils and politically appointed positions
overseeing F & G. They will use the courts to gain access to these venues if they must. Just like here in NJ.

In states that do have a hunting culture the antis may not make much of an impact in the
short term. They will however exploit the fact that non-hunters pay into the state and
should have a voice in game management. The courts will side with them.

THE CRITICAL COMPONENT IN MY OPINION IS HAVING NON-HUNTERS WHO HAVE THE BENEFITS OF WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT EXPLAINED TO THEM SO THAT THEY HAVE SOME TYPE OF AN UNDERSTANDING AS TO HOW IT WORKS.

An educated public won't fall prey to the emotional rhetoric and heart-rending images of
the antis. Even non-hunters in states WITH hunting cultures will fall prey - because when
they have their hunting tradition questioned many will not understand why they have a
tradition of hunting to begin with - they just know it has always been that way.

So that's why I say that we all need to educate non-hunters to the basics of habitat
dynamics, carrying capacity, biodiversity, conservation, and biological surplus. These are
all components of a healthy balance of ecology. There are several “quick reads” available
for those of us needing a refresher.

Educating non-hunters can be as simple as a letter in the editorial section of a newspaper,
introducing a friends son or daughter to hunting, casually mentioning it to an aunt or
uncle, posting on the different forums, or writing a book like The New Age Hunter.

It isn't accomplished overnight and hunters and wildlife are the ones that stand to lose the
most by making excuses for doing nothing.

Ant
http://www.anthonypmaurosr.com
 
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