Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Taking the hunting agenda to the people

© By Othmar Vohringer

Every Sunday begins for me with watching the Canada in the Rough hunting show. I usually do not watch hunting shows on TV but I would have to have a very good reason to miss this particular one.

There are a number of reasons why I like Canada in the Rough. First would have to be that this show is an all Canadian production. The producer and host Thomas Pigeon is a Canadian and so is his crew. Plus all hunts take part in Canada. But there has to be more to a show then just national pride to make it my favorite and that is where Thomas Pigeon comes in to play.

Besides being a down to earth guy, as in a hunter like you and me, and showing hunts as they happen even if that means that no trophy, or no game at all, is taken, he is also a tireless advocate of all legal hunting methods. Each show segment Pigeon is shown hunting with a compound bow, or a crossbow, perhaps with a rifle, shotgun or a muzzleloader. He does not favor or promote one hunting method or game animal over another one. To him it’s all about hunting regardless of what legal choice the hunter uses to pursue his or her passion. I like that attitude because that is exactly how I feel too.

In each show he will go out of his way to explain how important it is that all hunters unite and the good hunting does for wildlife and habitat conservation. “Okay” you may say, “so do other TV hunting shows”. Yes that is true but the difference here is that Canada in the Rough does not air on a hunting or outdoor channel where it is save by preaching to the congregation. Canada in the Rough is aired on Global TV, which is the public channel watched not only by hunters but by everybody. With this public platform Canada in the Rough takes the hunting agenda to the very people that need to hear our message – the non-hunters.

Thomas Pigeon has a solid track record of being one of Canada’s most avid amd vocal hunting promoters in public. Pigeon is the founder and chairman of the Canadian Outdoor Heritage Alliance (COHA). This is Canada’s first and as of this writing still only organization with the sole purpose of promoting and lobbying hunting, fishing and trapping to the public as a viable and important Canadian heritage.

This past Sunday found me as usual in front of the TV in anticipation of another exiting Canada in the Rough show taking the viewer to another of Canada’s many stunningly beautiful places on a hunt for our rich and diverse wildlife. But instead of a hunt Thomas Pigeon, sitting on a campfire, announced that this show, named “Politics of Hunting”, would be dedicated solely to the important role the Canadian hunting heritage plays in the wildlife/environment conservation sector and the economy of Ontario and Canada.

For this Thomas invited a special guest. The guest it turns out was a high profile politician. To say I was surprised is an understatement when I heard Frank Klees, the Progressive Conservative MPP (Members of Provincial Parliament) for Ontario, speak openly and positive about hunting. It does not happen often, or make that never, that a politician is brave enough in these politically correct times to go on public record with a full endorsement statement for hunting, fishing and trapping. But that is exactly what Klees did. For a full half hour he talked about how important it is to support this Canadian heritage not only as a important wildlife management and conservation tool, but also as an important multi million dollar part of Ontario's economy.

Ontario's hunters, fishers and trappers contribute millions of dollars in license sales alone plus further millions and employment through guide / outfitters and sporting goods stores. I couldn't find the exact figures but the talk is of around 45 million dollars overall. Yet the current Ontario government is ragley ignorant of this important contribution by flirting with animal rights to gain city folks votes they try to cut back on that economy and with that ultimately on wildlife and habitat conservation too.

In these politically correct times where for the most part politicians are more concerned with what a largely ignorant city people think it takes courage for a politician like Frank Klees, running for Premier in the election, to speak out publicly on behalf of hunters, anglers and trappers. Klees was also brave enough to say very clearly what he thinks of the animal rights and anti hunter movement. It’s an opinion that surely won’t go down well with the city folks in Toronto that have for the most part been brainwashed with the lies of animal rights, but it is a message that needed to be told and needs to be told many times more. If hunting is to survive into the future we have to carry our message to the people on the street and that is exactly what Pigeon and Klees did masterfully on "Politics of Hunting" last Sunday.

Othmar Vohringer Outdoors

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SimplyOutdoors said...

I love the local outdoor shows as well, and I watch ours that airs on a public access channel weekly. Like you, it's one of the few I actually watch.

And for a politician to openly speak in favor of hunting, fishing, and especially trapping, takes a lot of guts and I admire him for that.

Our local representative is a pro-hunting advocate as well, and always makes appearances at all of our local hunting and fishing engagements.

It sounds like a great show, and that you have at least one good politician in Canada.

NorCal Cazadora said...

Man, we need something like that here. I don't even think most of the shows on hunting channels here do any of that; I'd really like to see that in a mass-market forum.

Rick Kratzke said...

I do enjoy as well watching outdoors shows on the weekend, it seems natural to do so.

I have to admit that I don't very much care for politics or politicians because it is all about telling the people what they want to hear. Basically a lot of empty promises which are worth doodly.

If he is that much in favor of hunting than I hope he proves me wrong.

Othmar Vohringer said...

Arthur – Global TV is all over Canada but each province (state) has their own local Global TV channel and Canada in the Rough is shown on all of them at different days and times. With that said there is a huge viewer base.

It seems that recently more politicians “dare” to get on a public medium and “admit” that they hunt and fish. But there are still to many that are afraid that they would offend somebody and that in turn could cost them votes.


Othmar Vohringer Outdoors

Othmar Vohringer said...

NorCal Cazadora – I hope it will come in America too. Fortunately for us here in Canada animal rights always had a much harder time in “convincing” people then in America. Maybe this has to too with the fact that even the big city dwellers are never far away from the wilderness and with that from the truth. Canada is the second largest country in the world yet the population is considerably less than that of America. In addition most rural communities do not hunt and fish as a pastime but to earn a living. I am sure that this has something to do with it.

Othmar Vohringer Outdoors

Othmar Vohringer said...

Rick – I hear you loud and clear. To use a saying of my dear father loosely translated in to English. “Only a fool would believe what politicians are saying. Politics is the only profession where we pay people t lie to us.” However in this case the man is sincere because as I found out after I wrote the post and posted it here. He and his family are avid hunters and fishers. However, I am sure in order to stay in “business” he will have to toe the party line. Fortunately, the Conservative party here in Canada does have it on their agenda to make hunting and fishing a nationally recognized heritage. There is now even talk of creating a national hunting heritage day. Some provinces (states) went ahead and created a provincial hunting heritage day already.

What I am pleased about is that a high ranking politician actually had the courage to go on public record and say “hunting is good and we need hunting”. That is much more then I expected of him.


Othmar Vohringer Outdoors

James "Used forklifts" Henry said...

I want it to!
I really hope!
Thank you for sharing!

tpigeon said...

OTHMAR.. thanks for the kind words. The community of hunters following our journey at Canada In the Rough is growing every day. Season 6 just launched and after five years our program continues to evolve and we work hard in and out of the field to produce a quality show that truthfully portrays the experience of what I believe hunting is about. Obviously you get it. I really enjoyed your blog and will visit again.

Othmar Vohringer said...

Thanks Thomas for visiting my blog. I am glad you like my short review of your show. What I really appreciate and find very refreshing about your show is that you're not afraid to say it like it is. The sad truth is that many, not only hunting shows, have become so concerned with what might offend a small minority that they have become afraid to speak the truth let alone speaking the truth in public as you do.

Keep the good work you do up and I keep watching "Canada in the Rough."

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