As it has with every other aspect of society, Political Correctness insanity brought to us by the Democratic Left has infected natural resources management. As a consequence, fish and wildlife now are becoming tools to use for political gain instead of being managing for public good.
In the West, Washington and Oregon wildlife agencies have bowed to pressure from the feds and special interest groups, removing creel limits on bass in several rivers and likely destroying world-class fisheries in the process.
The argument is that these fish contribute to the continued demise of native salmon/steelhead/trout fisheries. In fact, evidence is scant. The real reasons are loss of habitat and alteration of their cold-water environment to one that more favors bass, catfish, and walleye.
And bass, even though legally introduced more than a century ago by the feds and/or with government approval, are "nonnative."
For today's PC crowd, nothing makes these fish more offensive and in need of elimination. Never mind the hypocrisy that illegal immigrants are a protected class by these same people.
In Florida, meanwhile, compassionate PC's are readying their torches and pitchforks to go after the state if it should dare to have a second hunt to protect people, pets, and property from an out-of-control bear population.
My vote for the most idiotic PC insanity to date, however, goes to Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City, who wants to spend millions of dollars in public funds to perform vasectomies on bucks to control a deer population that has exploded from 24 in 2008 to nearly 1,000 today. Just last year, a deer broke through a strip-mall window and bled to death inside. Others have gored pets and bolted into traffic, colliding with city buses, police cars and private vehicles.
Wildlife biologists say the plan won't work. De Blasio insists that he knows better than the scientists. And, yes, there's hypocrisy here too. Remember "manmade climate change," one of the basic tenets of Leftist ideology? The true believers insist that "the science is settled" and "97 percent of scientists agree" regarding the cause of climate change.
Of course, neither is true. But the point is the PC crazies will use science when it meets their needs and ignore it when it doesn't. (They also intentionally attempt to confuse the issue, making it appear as if their opponents deny climate change is occurring, when that is not the case at all. The argument is over whether manmade activities are contributing, and, if so, how much.)
Here is what wildlife biologist Dr. Paul Curtis of Cornell University told The New York Post about de Blasio's plan:“This proposal has no chance of success whatsoever.”
First, if the local bucks are shooting blanks, does would keep going into heat all through fall and winter, right on up to early spring. That would attract still-potent males from many miles around, with some possibly even crossing the Delaware from New Jersey to get some action.
But “it won’t even get to that point,” Curtis said, “because I think it would be extremely difficult to get even 50 percent of the bucks” in order to sterilize them. Even a few intact bucks can keep the herd growing exponentially.
Also, the Post added, "Snipped bucks would be sterile but still have a strong sex drive. So during an extended rutting season, there would be more perilous encounters with humans as the mad-with-lust bucks heedlessly run around looking for mates."
Of course, the logical solution is to bring in expert archers to cull the population. Backyard Bow Pro in North Carolina provides such services, with the venison donated to local food pantries.
But logic has no place where animal rights activists are concerned, and they are firmly entrenched in the big cities. In 14 of them, they recently celebrated National Animal Rights Day.
These are the people who want to stop us from fishing and hunting. Their tactics and campaigns aren't always aimed directly at our outdoor heritage, but that's where they are leading. Their ultimate goal is to stop use of animals entirely, including for medical research, food, and even as pets.
They aren't yet going after hunting and fishing with a national campaign. But they're trying their best to shut them down, a little at a time, in the states. In Maine they tried, and failed, to stop a bear hunt. Now they're focused on Florida.
That's why it's so important for states to follow the lead of Texas, and guarantee the right to fish and hunt in their constitutions. Nineteen of them now have done so, 18 since 1996.
In November, citizens of Indiana and Kansas will vote on amendments to protect the right to fish and hunt, while a North Carolina proposal still must be approved by the state senate before it becomes a ballot initiative.
Meanwhile in New York City, de Blasio said that performing vasectomies on male deer is the preferred option because it is easy to perform.
"That's absolutely false," said biologist Curtis, who has done buck vasectomies. "They do not respond well to immobilization drugs. It is far more stressful on the animals.
But facts and logic mean little to de Blasio and true believers whose dream is to give legal rights to animals as part of their PC paradise.
And that includes making fishing and hunting illegal.