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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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Meijer Ends Promotion with HSUS

© By Othmar Vohringer

Good news!
Meijer, a Michigan based chain of retail stores, has responded to the concerns of sportsmen and hunting organization and ended its partnership with the anti hunting group, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

Once again hunters have proven that they have a powerful voice that cannot be ignored by large companies and society.

Read the full story of Meijers promotion with the HSUS here and here.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone that has taken the time to voice his or her concerns to Meijer and their relationship with the HSUS. Meijer got the message and acted upon it in the only appropriate way.

Please drop a note to Meijer and thank them for the support they have show to hunters and how much you appreciate their wise decision.

Send your appreciation emails to:

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Monday, April 28, 2008

Update on “Urged Action Required of All Hunters and Anglers”

© By Othmar Vohringer

I just received news that Meijer has shut down the email address that I have provided as a contact in my original action alert.

It is quite possible that the email address was shut down due to the high volume of messages that were being received from the sportsman community. This is an encouraging sign and we must keep the pressure up on Meijer.

Please keep the pressure up, contact the Meijer CEO and Chairman
Hank Meijer
2929 Walker Ave. NW
Grand Rapids
Michigan, 49544-9428
phone – (616) 453-6711; fax – (616) 791-2572

…and demand that the company end its financial support of HSUS. If you prefer to contact the company via email, please send your messages to Meijer vice president of corporate communications and public affairs, Stacie Behler at and insist that she deliver your message to the CEO.

This is part of the answer I got from Meijer, it seems to be a standard letter sent out to all concerned sportsmen.
“While my answer probably isn’t going to completely satisfy you, it is important that you understand that we understand what you are saying. We believe that we have funneled this money away from the Humane Society and instead put it to use where we really wanted it, which is helping families and helping rescued animals. Our goal here was not to provide funding for the Humane Society of the United States, but instead for a fund that would be funneled out nationally.”
Stacie Behler, did recognize that hunters and sportsmen are a huge customer base for Meijer and mentioned that the company has already received messages and emails from concerned sportsmen and some of those messages identified other sportsmen-friendly national organizations that will be helped in future programs.

What she seems not to recognize is the fact that even if the money is donated with stipulations attached that it A.) Frees up finances for the HSUS to be used against hunters and fishers, and B.) That the HSUS does not have programs to help either families or to rescue animals.

Keep the pressure up and should you get an answer back such as the above enlighten Meijer of their misconception about HSUS helping orphaned pets. Past experiences have proven that pressure from outdoorsmen DO WORK. Companies such as Iams, General Mills, Accor Hotels, Pet Safe, Sears and Ace Hardware ended relationships with HSUS after thousands of sportsmen levied strong protest.

Remember the derogatory series of JEEP TV advertising that portrayed hunters as primitive slobs. After hundreds of thousands of sportsmen complained to Jeep they not only pulled all the advertising but went public with an apology. We hunters have a strong voice and are a powerful force if we stick together.

Thank you.

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Urged Action Required of All Hunters and Anglers

© By Othmar Vohringer

Once again news has reached me via the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance of a large company, the Michigan based Meijer retail superstore chain, supporting financially one of the notorious animal rights organizations.

Please read the following email sent to me and act immediately as requested.
(Columbus, Ohio) - Meijer, a Michigan-based regional chain of retail superstores, has aligned itself with the anti-hunting group, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), in an online pet photo contest.

It has refused a U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA) request to abandon the partnership.

According to information on the Meijer website, for each person that enters the contest, Meijer will donate $1, up to a maximum of $5,000, to the HSUS Foreclosure Pets Fund.

The money donated to HSUS through this promotion, while not going directly to its anti-hunting campaign, will free up money from the organization’s general fund that can be used to attack the rights of sportsmen.

The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, the nation’s leading sportsmen’s advocacy organization, has urged Meijer to end its support of HSUS, but the company refused.

“While my answer probably isn’t going to completely satisfy you, it is important that you (USSA) and your members understand that we understand what you are saying. We believe that we have funneled this money away from the Humane Society and instead put it to use where we really wanted it, which is helping families and helping rescued animals,” said Meijer vice president of corporate communications and public affairs, Stacie Behler. “Our goal here was not to provide funding for the Humane Society of the United States, but instead for a fund that would be funneled out nationally.”

Behler did recognize that hunters and sportsmen are a huge customer base for Meijer and mentioned that the company has already received messages and emails from concerned sportsmen and some of those messages identified other sportsmen-friendly national organizations that will be helped in future programs.

“Sportsmen must send Meijer a strong message that its support of HSUS, the largest anti-hunting organization in the world, is not appreciated,” said Bud Pidgeon, president of USSA. “I encourage everyone to call and write the company to express your disappointment at the alienation of sportsmen this collaboration causes.”

The HSUS is America’s leading opponent of hunting, fishing and trapping. It led the charge in a a 2006 ballot campaign to ban dove hunting in Meijer’s home state of Michigan, contributing $1.6 million to the effort. It opposes hunting on National Wildlife Refuges and other public lands. In fact, the organization is a plaintiff in an ongoing federal lawsuit to ban hunting on the refuges, and is the lead plaintiff in other suits to manipulate the Endangered Species Act to ban outdoor sports. HSUS does not operate or oversee animal shelters or have any legal controls over them.

Meijer is a seller of sporting goods and hunting licenses and indicates on its website that it operates 184 locations throughout Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky.

Sportsmen can make a difference. Companies such as Iams, General Mills, Accor Hotels, Pet Safe, Sears and Ace Hardware ended relationships with HSUS after thousands of sportsmen levied strong protest.
It boggles my mind how many companies seemingly without thinking or doing any research are willing to donate money to any organization that begs them too. I mean. Has it ever occurred to Meijer what the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) for? Does Meijer realize that if the HSUS would have it their way Meijer could not sell hunting and fishing licenses, meat and meat products, dairy products, pet food and many other products derived from,- tested on,- and aimed at animals?

Has Meijer and other businesses ever made an effort to try and understand what economical adverse impact the HSUS, PETA and other such notrious oganizations have on business and society? The billions of dollars, the millions of unemployed, the vanishing of wildlife and habitats it would cost us all if ever, God forbid, these fanatics should come into a position to govern a country. Do sponsors realize that animal rights directly and indirectly financially support animal rights and environmental terrorism and crimes carried out by their rabbit members?

Sportsmen please contact Meijer CEO and President Hank Meijer at 2929 Walker Ave. NW, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 49544-9428; phone – (616) 453-6711; fax – (616) 791-2572; email – and demand that the company end its financial support of HSUS.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

What’s in a blog – This Blog!

© By Othmar Vohringer

A few weeks ago I read an interesting article written by Kristine on the OBS blog. “How do your readers see you and your blog?” In a nutshell the article deals with the relationship readers have with the writer of the blog.
“One question is what image do you, the blog writer, think your blog has? The other question deals with how your readers view your blog and you as the writer of that blog. Your view of who you are and what your blog is may differ sharply from your readers' views on the same subject.”

Is the writer simply passing along information, or does the writer reflect his or her own personality and thus strikes a personal note with his/her readers and what image does his/her blog convey to the readers?
It seems obvious that readers are more attracted to a blog with personality rather than a blog that has no personality. It is possible that the writer and readers have a completely different perception of the blogs image or the image the writers conveys.

The article appeals to me for several reasons. First, when I started blogging I just wanted to communicate my thoughts about hunting with little thought as to what image I may portray to the readers. However, as time went on and the blog got more popular and readers started to comment on my writings I started to take note of what was expressed in the comments and emails I got in response.

My mission with this blog is best summarized in its subtitle: “Promoting the Outdoor Heritage.” Not the hunting or fishing heritage and neither a particular segment of hunting. “Outdoors” is all-inclusive, hunting, fishing, and trapping in all its legal forms. Over time it has become apparent to me that this neutral approach is particularly appealing to my readers. The readers know that they can come to my blog and read unbiased opinion on all topics relating to our hunting heritage without the soapbox mentality and preaching. This is not as easy to do as it may appear. There are of course certain aspects in our outdoor heritage that I have reservations about, yet I try to remain neutral on the subject.

I do this for two reasons. First I do not want to offend readers that subscribe to a particular choice in hunting or fishing. And second, I do not, under any circumstances, want to give our opposition any material that they can use to make a case against hunting or fishing. Promoting the outdoor heritage and unity among the different factions is at the very top of my agenda.

Another reason why the article appeals to me is that it made me think about where I am heading with the blog and the image the readers have of me. I am pretty confident about the direction my blog is heading, and so far I feel that I have stayed in tune with the mission I set out on.

While I am certain about the direction I am not so confident about the image the readers have of me as a writer. As my regular readers know English is not my native language and I have no formal education in English. This fact at times creates a vacuum in expressing my thoughts the way I would like. The image of me as a writer that I would like to convey is the one where I am sitting opposite my reader engaged in a casual but meaningful conversation. In other words I am aiming to write in a conversational style. Eventually, as my confidence to write combined with the will to get a full grasp of English and experiment with creative writing grows, I will achieve that goal too.

I have taken Kristine’s point well and it made me think. It’s a good thing as a blogger to read articles that make you think about your mission and image. It is easy to get lost and deviate from the mission, which at times is not a bad thing as long as one finds one’s way back on track.
If I were to give any advice to a beginning blogger it would be this:
Have a mission- a clear idea of what your blog should be about.
Stay with a topic you’re familiar with.
Above all be aware of your reader’s reactions to your posts.
Comments can be a good indicator, if you learn to read between the lines, of how your readers perceive you as a writer.

I love blogging and expect to be around for a long time. I might change the blogs now and then or write something that is not exactly in line with the mission statement. But one thing is for sure: it will always be about the important part we hunters and fishers play in wildlife and habitat conservation and the protection and promotion of our treasured outdoor heritage and the unity within our own ranks.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Murder Suspect Caught By Hunter

© By Othmar Vohringer

On Sunday, April 6, 2008, the idyllic and peaceful life of the small rancher town Merritt in BC (our future hometown) was shattered with the news that three children have been murdered in cold blood. The tree children, between 10 and 4 years old, were found stabbed to death and propped up on the couch by their mother returning from errands in town.

The father of the children, Allan Dwayne Schoenborn was missing. He later became the prime suspect in the gruesome murder of his own children and the police staged a Canadian wide manhunt to apprehend him. Read the full story here and here.

Fast forward to April 17, 2008. This was the day when the international press reported that Merritt resident Kim Robinson, a local hunter, trapper, and wilderness tracker single handily captured the murder suspect. While some regard Kim a vigilante others, me included, regard him a hero. To understand why Kim Robinson is regarded a hero read the full story of the murder suspect capture here.

Of course as a hunter I am mighty proud that it has been a hunter who captured the suspected killer. Kim also has made a good case for gun ownership. In the article it is noted that a hiker has seen the fugitive but was too scared to approach him. Instead the hiker approached Kim who at the time was in the area too looking for the suspect because he had a gun and big dog with him. As the people of Canada celebrate a hero, they also think a little more favorable of a hunters and gun ownership.

To read more about our upcoming move to Merritt visit the blog of my wife. She writes a regular journal from the time we started our search for our new home.

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Hunting In The News

© By Othmar Vohringer

Wisconsin Advisory Group Votes to Urge Wolf Season

The Wisconsin Conservation Congress voted on April 14 to urge the state to develop a gray wolf hunt to keep population numbers within management objectives.

The wolf hunt resolution passed through the Conservation Congress by a vote of 4,848 to 772 according to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

The Wisconsin Conservation Congress is a group of delegates elected by the citizens of the state and serves as an advisory group to the Natural Resources Board and the Wisconsin DNR. The group holds meetings in each of the 77 Wisconsin counties.

Read full story here

Anti’s Attack School Hunting Program

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has chosen a Wisconsin middle school as one of the newest targets in its anti-hunting fight.

Students at Northwestern Middle School in Poplar, Wisconsin have a Hunter’s Wall, which is a spot where they can post photos of their kills, celebrating the rich hunting heritage of the region.

The photo wall is in the classroom of science teacher Russ Bailey, who also teaches an after-school hunter education course in the room.

PETA sent a letter to the principal of the school, Ken Bartelt, asking him to remove the Hunter’s Wall because the organization believes it promotes violence. The letter was also posted online and was sent to local media.
Read full story here

Trailblazer Adventure Program Seeking Volunteers

The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation (USSAF) is looking for volunteers from across the country to assist in the Trailblazer Adventure Program.

Volunteering for the Trailblazer Adventure Program is your opportunity to help expose families to outdoor activities through the Trailblazer Adventure Day events.

The one-day Trailblazer Adventure Day program serves as an all-around introduction to the thrill of outdoor sports and the importance of conservation. It is typically hosted at a Boy Scout camp or similar facility.

The Trailblazer Adventure Day features a variety of activities, demonstrations and orientation sessions designed to show children and their parents what the outdoor lifestyle is all about. All activities are conducted under the supervision of experienced Trail Guides with an emphasis on safety. Local Field Directors, USSAF representatives, attend each event to ensure coordination between all participating organizations.

Outdoors with Othmar Vohringer News is regularly updated through the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance. The U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance provides direct lobbying and grassroots coalition support to protect and advance the rights of hunters, fishermen, trappers and scientific wildlife management professionals. This is accomplished through coalition building, ballot issue campaigning and legislative and government relations. Contributions to the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance, a 501 (C) 4 organization, are not tax deductible unless you are in an outdoors related industry.

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Monday, April 07, 2008

A sad example of how gun control can cost lives

© By Othmar Vohringer

I found the following heartbreaking story on the NRA Website. It is a very tragic example of what happens if ordinary law abiding people are left defenseless against intruders, robbers and other lowlifes that pray on them. It is these stories that make me angry at the gun control advocates that want you to believe that unarmed and defenseless people make for a safer world.

It makes me angry that these gun control folks trample heartless and cold-blooded over dead innocent crime victims and their families to achieve their political agenda, using fabricated statistics and outright lies about the danger of gun ownership and the supposed spread of violence.

As you read the tragic story please remember that this is by no means a single case. Tragic scenes like this happen everyday somewhere in North America. Violent crime is on a rapid rise and more so in cities and towns where firearms are banned for self-defense.

A woman is on the phone with 911 to report a burglar in her home. Dispatchers hear gunshots, then silence. When deputies arrive, the caller is dead.

Her husband arrives a few minutes later, only to be told that his wife had been shot dead by a burglar. News reports say "he collapsed and started to cry, saying "No! She just called me. You lie."

The real lie is that gun control and gun bans make us safer. All they do is put innocent people at risk of violent criminals. In 2005, the FBI says there were more than 2,000,000 burglaries in this country. There were also more than 400,000 robberies. If you were one of the millions of victims of crime, would you not want the option to defend yourself with a firearm?

Gun bans like Washington, D.C.'s only affect the law abiding. They don't disarm criminals, but they ensure that residents are left with one option: call 911 and hope helps arrive before it’s too late. And sadly, we know all too well how that often works out.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Charlton Heston legendary actor dies at age 84

© By Othmar Vohringer

Charlton Heston died Saturday (April 5, 2008) at his Beverly Hills home, said family spokesman Bill Powers. In 2002, he had been diagnosed with symptoms similar to those of Alzheimer’s disease.

Heston was one of the last true Hollywood icons starring in epic roles. In a career spanning 60 years, Heston provided the world with a seemingly inexhaustible roster of resolute screen heroes, from Michelangelo to Moses, El Cid to Judah Ben-Hur. It was these roles and his acting talents that elevated him to a larger than life persona.

Never one to rest on his laurels Heston used his fame to became politically active. Long before it became popular he became active in the civil rights movement, speaking out against racism and became a dedicated supporter of the second amendment. From 1998 to 2003 Charlton was president of the National Rifle Association (NRA). At the helm of the NRA he was a tireless promoter and protector of the right to own and carry firearms that never shied away from facing difficult tasks and controversy.

Despite the rhetoric attacks from the lefties calling him a “dangerous gun nut”, “aid to gun crime”, he maintained his unwavering support for the gun owners and outdoor sport to the end. Heston is one of a handful man that has done more to protect our rights than anyone else and for this we, the gun owners and hunters, have to be thankful.

Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President of the National Rifle Association of America, made the following statement to the passing of Charlton Heston.

Today, my heart is heavy with the loss of Charlton Heston. America has lost a great patriot. The Second Amendment has lost a faithful friend. So have I, and so have four million NRA members and eighty million gun owners. And so has every American who cares about the Bill of Rights, individual liberty, and Freedom.

My heart is heavy, but not without a sense of pride. Pride in a man who devoted his life to his profession with grace and dignity. Pride in an American who devoted himself to civil rights, to correcting injustices around him, and to standing up for what he knew was right. Pride in a friend who stood with me and stood with fellow NRA members to preserve our freedom for future generations. Pride in a patriot who believed with every fibre of his being that our Bill of Rights is the foundation of our freedom that makes Americans singular among the masses of nations.

And now, Charlton Heston has passed that duty to us - the next generation. I am as proud to continue his cause as I am to have known him as my friend.

But today, my thoughts cannot leave the Heston family. They have always had my utmost respect and admiration and, today, they have my deepest sympathy and most earnest prayers, and they will always have my friendship.

Rest in peace Charlton. Thank you for everything you have done to make this world a better place to be. May the ones you left behind proudly carry on the legacy in your spirit. You have shown all of us what one person can achieve if they are dedicated and believe in what is right.

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