Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 18, 2007
By: Christina Larson

HUNTERS AND GREENS....I spent last weekend in Roanoke, Va., at the annual get-together of the Outdoors Writers of Association of America, the national hook & bullet journos group. This is my second year in attendance. A few things were different this time: The conversation about hunters and greens working together, last year bubbling below the surface, was front and center this year. Global warming is now an accepted premise — a part of landscape in which other conversations about conservation take place. Though I wouldn't make too much of it, I did hear someone pining for Al Gore in '08 (the rundown: Romney is a fake hunter; McCain is crazy on Iraq; Hillary is too divisive; Obama is too novice).

A few other things I learned:

  • The Sierra Club, among the leading green groups in partnering with sportsmen, recently added 12 new regional staffers to work on outreach; some of their state chapters have also begun facilitating hunter-safety training courses.

  • Ducks Unlimited has been working with National Wildlife Federation to inform its members about the potential effects of climate change.

  • In the most recent national survey, the number of hunters and anglers overall continues to decline, due to increased urbanization and other factors. Hunters in households with incomes below $40,000 have declined the fastest. But for hunters in households making more than $100,000, the retention rate has actually increased since 1996.

  • Hunters are predominantly male. Yet the folks who've been most successful in reaching out and forging partnerships haven't been green dudes, talking man to man — but rather the enviro ladies. A few possible explanations present themselves.

  • John Edwards, the talk went, wears a lot of make-up on the stump. (FYI, I'm not making a comment on this, just passing along what I heard folks talk about; I'm always curious where impressions spring from, what gossip sticks. WaPo confirms detail.)

  • Climate change is driving species to higher latitudes and elevations. National wildlife refuges, lands set aside as habitat based on where critters used to live, aren't so mobile.

There was a whole roundtable on advice for hunter-green coalitions, so I'll post more on that later.

Christina Larson 11:19 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (22)

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Comments

John Edwards, I’m told, wears a lot of make-up on the stump. Sweat and tears both create streaks in the foundation.

Hey, it's substance free reporting, courtesy of the Washington Monthly.

A quick question for anyone paying attention--is it really a good idea to continue to engage in this kind of superficial bullshit? Edwards wears makeup. Is that news? Every single person who makes any kind of a regular appearance on the medium called "television" wears some form of makeup. Edwards is running for President in the modern era and wears makeup--and this is your observation? Great. Glad to hear you didn't divulge any of his policy positions or go into what he would do if elected President.

I don't really care if he wears makeup--see above. I do care what he wants to do to lead us out of bankruptcy, war and a whole host of horrific problems that are threatening our way of life. But I'm kinda fucking nuts that way, I guess.

Posted by: Some perspective for you on June 18, 2007 at 11:38 PM | PERMALINK

One of these things is not like the other ones.

Posted by: roger on June 18, 2007 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

I took the "I'm told" part to mean that's what the hunter journalists were bringing up when John Edwards name came up. I think it is substance to bring up what other people are talking about which you may not interact with very often. I'm just guessing "Some perspective for you" might not be an avid hunter type.

I believe its Ducks Unlimited with an s. I believe there a still multiple ducks in the country.

Posted by: Chad on June 18, 2007 at 11:55 PM | PERMALINK

What have you done with Kevin? Why are you mentioning guns?

Is this some sicko blognapping thing?

Posted by: jerry on June 19, 2007 at 12:15 AM | PERMALINK

As fatuous as it was, nothing in the article you link to confirms Edwards wears make up "on the stump." He wears make up for television appearances, not to fish frys. Repeating this crap makes you a part of the problem. Knock it off.

Posted by: DanG on June 19, 2007 at 12:31 AM | PERMALINK

"I believe its Ducks Unlimited with an s. I believe there a still multiple ducks in the country."

Who knows. They may have been forced to downsize to that one duck that 1) doesn't violate NAFTA, 2)has received a valid passport, and 3)lives solely in navigable waterways used in interstate commerce.

Posted by: B on June 19, 2007 at 12:40 AM | PERMALINK

. . . but rather the enviro ladies. A few possible explanations present themselves.

Well, from my local experience here in San Diego, it's not what you or your readers might think--the women I know who are doing the good environmental work around here will talk to anyone who shares their love of the environment, no matter what their political stance. For example, an activist working on stopping a powerline land-grab by Sempra Energy was able to forge connections with, of all people, the National Rifle Association because they treasure the lands that would be overrun by powerlines, and closed to target shooting and hunting. All she did was go to a meeting and present her case, and because they recognized her commitment they trusted her despite the fact that she is a member of the Sierra Club--seen as an arch-foe of the NRA in Washington DC. Most women I know who do environmental work tend to keep the political crowing to a minimum and get the work done with whomever will work with them.

And by the way, these women probably wouldn't like to be called "ladies", and they can open the doors to their own trucks just fine, thank you. But thanks for bringing it up.

Posted by: jim on June 19, 2007 at 12:51 AM | PERMALINK

"John Edwards, the talk went, wears a lot of make-up on the stump. (FYI, I'm not making a comment on this, just passing along what I heard folks talk about; I'm always curious where impressions spring from, what gossip sticks."

Edwards is young, good-looking, rich and smart. Most outdoor writers are none of the above, and most men resent those who are. They're doing a lousy job, BTW. Hunting is graying as fast as the Catholic priesthood; you can't get kids in the woods unless you tell them there's a PSP at the edn of the trail.
There's also a little hysteria based on the shrinkage--Jim Zumbo show up, or is he still png?

Posted by: Steve Paradis on June 19, 2007 at 12:58 AM | PERMALINK

What's with female bloggers? Why don't they talk about ordinary subjects of intererst to people reading the blog?

Amy Sullivan used to lecture everyone about how we should all become more superstitious and irrational if we want to win elections.

Now Christina is saying something about deliberately killing or not killing animals and I can't get past her first sentence.

Posted by: gregor on June 19, 2007 at 1:43 AM | PERMALINK

John Edwards's makeup looked really, really shitty in the first debate I saw. Orange, cakey, dry. The makeup was much more noticeable on him than it was on any other candidate. Who knows what the story there was, but Edwards really should instruct his staff to get him a more naturalist makeup look.

Posted by: JM on June 19, 2007 at 1:59 AM | PERMALINK


Aren't organizations like Ducks Unlimited and National Wild Turkey Federation just a tricky way to get the average taxpayer to foot the bill so rich men can hunt?

Doesn't the government match private donations with tax dollars to fund the efforts of these organizations to pump up the duck and turkey populations so the likes of Shooter et al. will have something to do on the weekend?

h

Posted by: h on June 19, 2007 at 2:47 AM | PERMALINK

"The national hook & bullet journos group"?

This is a frightening concept. It's less frightening, however, than the phrase "hook & bullet journos," which should never again be forced upon an unsuspecting public.

But thanks SO much for reporting "the talk" on John Edwards' makeup. Very important stuff there.

Someone call the blogopolice and stop this stupidity.

Posted by: ethan on June 19, 2007 at 3:56 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, very little tax money on the state or federal level is spent on game species restoration (such as re-introducing turkeys in areas of their presettlement range.) Well over 90% of the cost of such efforts is paid for by members of such groups as the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Trout Unlimited, the Wild Turkey Federation, in other words, the "hook and bullet crowd." Members of those groups also engage in the actual work of hundreds of such projects around the country every year. In addition, hunting and fishing groups spend large amounts of money and effort lobbying for pro-environmental legislation and regulation. Hence the partnerships between "hook and bullet" groups and other environmental groups that Christina has written about over the years.

Posted by: wihntr on June 19, 2007 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK
Hunters are predominantly male. Yet the folks who've been most successful in reaching out and forging partnerships haven't been green dudes, talking man to man — but rather the enviro ladies. A few possible explanations present themselves.

I've found, in lots of different political groups across the spectrum (from YAF on the right to Marxist groups on the left, with lots in between) that women in the various movements seem to tend, on average, to be more able to passionately advocate for their cause without getting defensive and personally attacking people that aren't already convinced of the rightness of the cause at issue. Its not universally true on an individual level, certainly, but it seems to be an overall tendency.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 19, 2007 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

I suspect the half-informed are responsible for the fake "hiker/hunter" schism. There is very little difference between our positions; (I speak as a long-distance backpacker.) So, you want to shoot Bambi? Deer are overpopulated, so please shoot some. You want to tear down a dam so the trout can better survive? Great, what can I do? The orange jackets are where I draw the line. I will not look like Bell-Biv-DeVoe?!

Also, most of the forests on the East Coast are crap. Compare parts of the Smokies that were never harvested to the parts of the Appalachians that were harvested, and you will agree that plant succession hasn't done very well to this point. If we could surgically remove 2/3 of the trees in the new growth forests, those forests would be much healthier. (Although I don't trust the foresters to harvest them surgically, or to leave the oldest trees alive.)

Posted by: absent observer on June 19, 2007 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

There is definitely some crossover of concerns between hunters and environmentalists. However, the hunters concern is for game species--i.e., species that they can kill--and not for the ecosystem as a whole. The introduction of non-native forage that deer or turkey love is A-OK by hunters, as is the elimination of pest species that are percieved as competing with the hunter. I think partnerships between hunters and environmentalists are vitally important. But it's also important to keep the different goals of the two groups in mind.

And, by the way, "hook and bullet" is not in any way derrogatory. My wife once worked for a combination environmental/hunting/fishing not-for-profit. The term "hook and bullet" to refer to the hunting/fishing aspect of the organization, was quite common. Of course, the contemporary PC term is "sportsman".

Posted by: Rob Mac on June 19, 2007 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

Romney is a fake hunter; McCain is crazy on Iraq; Hillary is too divisive; Obama is too novice

Interesting that the raps on Romney, McCain and Obama are all about the candidates themselves but the knock on Hillary is not about her but how people think of her.

Posted by: Jambo on June 19, 2007 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

Romney is a fake hunter; McCain is crazy on Iraq; Hillary is too divisive; Obama is too novice

Interesting that the raps on Romney, McCain and Obama are all about the candidates themselves but the knock on Hillary is not about her but how people think of her.

Posted by: Jambo on June 19, 2007 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

Rob Mac,

I have to voice a bit of a correction. The vast majority of hook and bullet organizations are at least as concerned with environmental preservation as game species management. All one need do is look at the news letters, monthly magazines, etc of Trout Unlimited, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and others to read about the purchases of land and conservation easements to keep undeveloped land in a condition favorable to native species of plants and animals, lobbying efforts to renew the Clean Water Act, etc. to see that the "hiker/hunter" divide is 99% myth.

Posted by: wihntr on June 19, 2007 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

There is nothing new about the confluence of environmental groups and hunting and fishing organizations. In fact, I think that the Sierra Club was founded by the same Theodore Roosevelt types that now populate Ducks Unlimited and other similar groups.

If you go back to the beginning of the 20th century you will find that wealthy outdoorsmen (which means that many of them hunted and fished) were the driving force of these proto-environmentalists. They realized that our natural treasures would be lost unless their considerable political influence was not used. I guess that TR is probably the best example of this especially since he set aside so much land as national parks, etc.

Posted by: MIchael Keyes on June 19, 2007 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

The Sierra Club magazine does articles regularly on the club's work with hunting and fishing organization. The next month's letters page, predictable as flies on a bison, always include one or two letters from the animal rights kindred demanding that SC stop associating with those horrible people. The SC leaders then give a three sentence "we're all in this together" reply and go on with what they have been doing for generations: working with anyone who can help.

Per the Wiki, Ducks Unlimited has 850,000 members and a hellacious bank account. I can live with a few dead ducks on my karma for that level or resources.

Also, as it happens, wild ducks are delicious. Ask any coyote. And the coyotes don't get to make wild game stews. Yum.


Posted by: Berken on June 19, 2007 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

Hunters always should logically have supported conservation, birth control, etc. They got tricked by the right-wing surface glamor appeal, the Marlboro Man mask, to support a clique that wasn't really in their own interest to do so.

Posted by: Neil B. on June 21, 2007 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK
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