For awhile, I’ve been concerned that the interests of anglers and hunters are being weakened and compromised, as groups that supposedly represent them embrace friendship and funding from preservationist and left-wing organizations and financiers.
In fact, I wrote about this awhile back, when I discovered that AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka had been named to the board of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP). (You can read my post about that here.) I also was concerned about its acceptance of grants from left-leaning trusts.
Others in the fishing and hunting community share my concerns, it seems, as the launch of a new website, Green Decoys, demonstrates. Founded by the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF), its intent is to “expose radical environmentalists camouflaged under outdoor-sounding names whose real objective is to serve the interests of their wealthy backers.”
Its targets: TRCP, Izaak Walton League of America, Trout Unlimited, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, and Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance.
“These self-anointed sportsmen’s groups posture as advocates for the hunting and fishing communities, but their funding tells the real story,” said CCF Senior Research Analyst Will Coggin. “Given the millions they collectively take from radical activists, it’s clear they serve an environmentalist master, not America’s sportsmen.”
My biggest regret regarding this campaign is that it clearly is based on the assumption that real anglers and hunters can be only on the right-side of the political spectrum. Traditionally, I don’t think that’s true.
But the sad reality today is that the leftist ideology in general is anti-fishing and anti-hunting, as its direction is shaped by environmental preservationists who want to force us off the water and out of the woods.
I write about the difference between being an environmentalist and a conservationist in my new book, Why We Fish.
Here’s an excerpt from the essay “I’m Not an Environmentalist”:
“We don’t want to be called 'environmentalists' because we associate that description with agenda-driven campaigns for preservation policies that often are not backed by scientific evidence.
“For anglers, 'conservationist' is the term of choice. Conservationists believe in both protection and sustainable use of our lands, waters, and other natural resources. They follow an ethical code of behavior and embrace a stewardship philosophy.
“So we have two factions, conservationists and environmentalists, sharing many of the same values, but more often viewing each other as enemies than allies.”