Storm Clouds on the Horizon

By Arizona Sportsmen for Wildlife Conservation

Sadly, some storm clouds brewing across Arizona aren’t bringing rain to a thirsty landscape. They are building to mobilize a force to take away our outdoor passions, in varying degrees and with varying methods.

Sportsmen’s Alliance Vice President Brian Lynn posted on June 16, 2017, “Divisiveness will be the downfall of the outdoors heritage.Animal-rights organizations prey upon differences of opinion in our ranks, and use it to justify their legislation, court arguments and ballot initiatives. Their sway with non-hunting voters only increases when we repeat similar statements and narrow-minded opinions.”

He goes on to say, “The catch-all phrase for conveying a totality of evil in the outdoors, “trophy hunting” has become the animal-rights movement’s go-to descriptor to stop everything from lion hunting in Africa to black bear hunting in Kentucky. The media echoes the use of trophy to paint any hunting as nothing more than a pursuit of heads, horns and hides.As planned, non-hunters are almost immediately swayed to stand against whatever act the words were uttered against.” You can read his full article here.

Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon Chapter Director Sandy Bahr recently testified under oath in a lawsuit trying to overturn two bills signed by Governor Ducey that changed the requirements for citizen initiatives on Arizona ballots.

An article in the July 12, 2017 edition of the AZ Capitol Times says, “Sandy Bahr, director of the Grand Canyon Chapter of the Sierra Club, said she already is working with other groups to put two measures on the 2018 or 2020 ballots. One would make it easier for people to register to vote. The other would outlaw so-called “trophy hunting” of wild animals.” You can read it for yourself here.

The first salvo this year came from Senator Steve Farley(D) from Tucson, with the introduction of AZ Senate Bill 1182. Fortunately it didn’t get out of committee, but one might say, my words, “the cat was let out of the bag”.

SB 1182 was written to eliminate the hunting and harvest of all “felids” aka cats, including cats that are already protected, and one that hasn’t even been seen in Arizona.”PROTECTED FELID” MEANS ANY BOBCAT, CANADA LYNX, JAGUAR, MOUNTAIN LION OR OCELOT.” You can read the bill here.

Senator Farley said in a blog post earlier this year, “There are only 2500 mountain lions left in AZ, and without their predation of their natural prey of elk, and deer, those prey populations will grow out of control, endangering rural roadways and becoming a serious problem. Leg traps and hounding are still used in a high percentage on these wild cats and leave them in horrible pain before their deaths.”

Senator Farley went on to say, “I’m representing my constituents, including a number of wildlife biologists who have approached me in the topic with alarm, and have included the Humane Society of the U.S. on the topic. I’m happy to hear your side of the story as well.”

The Senator was asked in the blog to provide his sources for information and name the biologists he referenced. He did neither, but on June 5, 2017 he announced he is running for Governor in 2018. Click here.

Earlier this year, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) published a very slick fluff piece entitled “State of the Mountain Lion, A Call to End Trophy Hunting of America’s Lion”. You can read all about it here. (Page 40 of the pdf goes into their synopsis of Arizona)

So to tie it all together, HSUS then affords you the opportunity to not only fight “trophy hunting”, but you can save thousands of mountain lions in the process! They invoke Cecil the lion, distort the facts, and give people numerous ways to “donate” and “take action”. See for yourself.

As you digest all this information, please share it with your friends and family, and help us begin the education process with voters who might not hunt or fish, but have no problem with our passions. These are the people (voters) that will make the difference in years to come on whether or not we can continue to sustain our hunting and outdoor heritage. The true “conservationists” are sportsmen and women, not the anti-hunting, animal rights and enviro-litigant crowd. Hunting and angling has put back billions of dollars into conservation efforts both in our state and across the country. That is part of the message we need to sell to the non-hunting and angling public in order to dispel the myths being perpetuated by these groups and people.

Yours in Conservation,
Jim Unmacht Executive Director