Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Sierra Club Wants To Be Pro-Hunting

© By Othmar Vohringer

Just recently I got an email from the Sierra Club. It basically states that they are now pro-hunting and to that end have launched a new website called the “Sierra Sportsmen Network”. In celebration of the launch the Sierra Club is holding a hunting and fishing photo contest. The winner of the contest will receive a $500 gift certificate for products from Patagonia or Bass Pro Shop. The panel of judges is made up of representatives from Boone & Crockett Club, Field & Stream Magazine, National Geographic, Sierra Club, the Orion Institute, the National Wildlife Federation, Save our Wild Salmon, and the Federation of Fly Fishers.

Carolyn Mansfield from the Sierra Club, the writer of the email, wrote, “It may surprise you that Sierra Club is reaching out to anglers and hunters…”

Carolyn was right; the message did surprise me. So much so that I had to read it twice to make sure I understood it. Being of a cautious nature I also got highly suspicious about the Sierra Club’s newly found commitment and support of the hunting heritage. Some folks say that I have a memory like an elephant. While this may be a bit of an overstatement I do vividly remember that the Sierra Club not so long ago was one of the forerunners of anti-hunting sentiments.

Here in British Columbia the Sierra Club in cooperation with other anti-hunting and environmental groups, has been instrumental in efforts to curb hunting. In one particular case the Sierra Club was part of several anti hunting groups that purchased several thousand square miles of prime hunting land from the BC government with the sole intent of closing it to hunting. It was not until the last minute, due to hunter pressure, that the provincial government made a special clause stating that the land has to stay open to management hunting.

With that background information of the Sierra Club’s active anti-hunting efforts and close association with anti-hunting organizations such as the notorious Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and the David Suzuki Foundation I had every reason to be highly suspicious about the motives behind the change of heart of the Sierra Club.

The least I wanted to do before I wrote on my blog about it was to investigate for myself and not just take the situation as written in an email. To many times in the past anti-hunting organizations have engaged in setting traps for hunters by pretending that they support hunting or fishing.

Over the last several days I investigated as well as I could. I started by picking the Sierra Sportsmen Network’s website apart looking for any anti hunting agenda obvious or hidden. The first link “take action” lead me to what I thought must be an anti-hunting message. “Help to Save the Polar Bears” banner is featured right at the top of that page. Fortunately it turned out to be a petition in support of the Markey Bill (H.R. 5058) and the Kerry Bill (S. 2568) that would stop the oil drilling in the artic.

Further investigation of the Sierra Sportsmen Network website and the Sierra Club website (once full with anti hunting sentiments) showed that there isn’t anything that could be construed as anti-hunting. The Sierra Club seems to have had a genuine change of heart and now fully endorses the hunting heritage.

What made them change?

My guess is as good as yours, but this is what I think happened: The Sierra Club perhaps had a big change at the helm. At least that is what I gather from reading an article written by Captain Paul Watson, the head honcho of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, who recently has been arrested by Canadian Police. He and his crew had attempted to ram his ship into the seal hunters. Among other violations of international law at sea he has also attempted ramming his ship purposely into another ship with the intent to sink it and is also accused of assault and threatening to kill people.

In the article, which is filled with the usual diatribe of calling hunters perverted killers equal to rapists and child molesters, he also bemoans the fact that the Sierra Club now endorses “Killers over Advocates for Life and Nature” and that this is the reason why he resigned from the Sierra Club making the following statement.
“Of the few who were critical of my anti-hunting position, they reportedly took offence to my remarks as being anti-hunting (of course they were) and they insisted that hunters were a strong conservation lobby and thus essential to protecting wildlife and wildlife habitats. I probably should have been more definitive of my position. Instead of stating that I was anti-hunting or opposed to hunters, I should have said that I am anti-killing and opposed to killers.”
If a man like Captain Paul Watson, possessed with a hatred for everyone that does not share his views and who does not shy back from committing crime to achieve his twisted political agenda, turns his back on the Sierra Club and writes such a hateful and dehumanizing article against hunters and the Sierra Club, satisfies me that the Sierra Club indeed had a change of heart. Finally they have realized that hunters are the true conservationists that, unlike many others, put their money where their mouth is.

I welcome the Sierra Club as ally and voice for the hunters. Having an organization on our side of the reputation the Sierra Club enjoys in society is a big bonus for us. Since the Sierra Club is not a hunter organization per say their support of us could carry more credibility in public and at government levels.

Here is what I would like to see done by the Sierra Club in celebration of this new coalition with hunters and anglers: that the Sierra Club puts its best foot forward in future in an effort to undo the hunting restrictions of which they were instrumental in placing on the hunters of British Columbia and elsewhere in North America.

Help us to open the land it lobbied to be closed to hunting. Publicly renounce its former anti-hunting sentiments and distance itself from all anti-hunting organizations that it previously endorsed or that endorsed the Sierra club.

If the Sierra Club can do that then I am fully satisfied that they are a full supporter of the hunting heritage, and I just might sign up as a member of the Sierra Club to show them my active support in return. I have taken the first step of trust and submitted a few pictures to the Sierra Sportsmen Network photo contest .

There are other fine articles about the new agenda of the Sierra Club written by fellow outdoor bloggers. Phillip at the Hog Blog wrote An Unlikely Ally Appears - or An Old Friend Returns? and Jeff from theLow Country Hunting blog wrote Sierra Club Reaches Out to Hunters with new Website; Should we Support Them?

I am looking forward to reading the comments and opinions readers of this blog have about the Sierra Club’s evident endorsement of our cherished hunting heritage.

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Jeff said...


Great post on this... I think that by separating themselves from people like Watson and removing all anti-hunting bias from their website, the Sierra Club is making huge strides to meet hunters in the middle of this debate. However, like you, I would like them to actually help us undo some of the damage that they have already done.
Thank you so much for mentioning and linking to my post on this. I truly appreciate it.
And I have been meaning for some time to add you to my blog roll. Let me know if that is OK.


Othmar Vohringer said...

Thanks for visiting Jeff and the kind words. I like your blog and of course it is OK to add my blog to your list. I will be happy to do likewise.

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