By Don Mallicoat- We have a new District 9 representative on the Wildlife Resources Commission. Last year the Governor appointed Albert Sneed to represent us. Due to some family health concerns he had to resign a couple of months ago. Immediately before last week’s full Commission meeting the Governor announced the appointment of Neal Hanks of Asheville to fill that vacant seat. If the name is familiar it is because he is President of Beverly-Hanks Realty.
I have met Neal several times at several sporting clays events raising funds for the Boy Scouts and Young Life Christian Ministries. In fact, he is on the organizing committee for the Boy Scout shoot. At the recent Young Life shoot my store team had a tie-breaking shoot with his team for 2nd place. I think he will do a great job for District 9 in this role and I plan on contacting him soon for an interview to share his outdoor experiences with readers and let you know what he hopes to accomplish in this role. One thing that should be on his short list is Commission input and involvement in the current Pisgah/Nantahala National Forest long range planning cycle. Hopefully we can share information with you soon.
I’ve written in the past about activities of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and their continuing efforts to stop hunting in the United States. Well, now the truth is coming out. They know they can’t just ban hunting so they are trying an end-around by attempting to ban the use of lead ammunition. They are on the verge of doing so in California. But they won’t stop there. The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has obtained the HSUS playbook to ban hunting with traditional ammunition across the country. The California Bill was the first key step in HSUS’s campaign to effectively ban all hunting through pursuing a ban on traditional ammunition. The playbook says, “We have intentionally chosen to concentrate first on banning the use of all lead ammunition for hunting in California and pursuing a ban on federal lands owned by the Department of Interior in order to build momentum for the campaign and to spur change within the various ammunition manufacturers and state wildlife agencies.”
In its playbook, HSUS also reveals a tactic that should alarm every hunter who has viewed state and federal fish and game agencies as supportive of hunting. Despite the fact that hunter license fees and excise taxes provide the vast majority of funding for these agencies, HSUS brags about infiltrating these agencies and expresses confidence in shaping their policies when it comes to use of traditional ammunition: “The HSUS has close working relationships with state wildlife agencies all across the country. Our wildlife department staff and state directors regularly attend state wildlife agency meetings where they have presented to top level agency officials and developed close working relationships with wildlife law enforcement officers in the majority of states. Our state directors attend department and commission meetings and have developed long-lasting relationships. We are regularly contacted to participate in stakeholder meetings and asked about The HSUS position on pending proposals. In fact, many of our staff serves on state wildlife agency appointed boards and commissions. These existing relationships will go a long way in our campaign to end the use of lead ammunition. We will be filing a petition to ban the use of lead ammunition for hunting purposes on federal lands owned by the Department of Interior (DOI)—which comprises about one-fifth of the total land area of the United States.”
HSUS can’t camouflage its true motive for its Lead-Free campaign. They see it as a means to ultimately bring an end to the hunting tradition. We have enough problems with environmentalists in the mountains who have turned the National Forests into a wildlife desert. Now the animal rights activists want to ban hunting altogether. We cannot sit back and expect that our hunting privileges to be protected simply because we pay a license fee. We must get and stay involved both at the state and national level in conservation organizations that will fight the animal rights and environmental groups taking away our privileges. That is why hunters should remain vigilant to any indication that the fish and game agencies that are funded by our dollars have begun taking their orders from the same group that wants to put them out of business entirely.