Wild Bill is taking on the NRA again.

Wild Bill. The Anti-Conservation Mission of the NRA. Will hunters continue to support the demise of their sport by contributing to the National Rifle Association?  By Bill Schneider. New West.

As for myself, I belong the American Hunters and Shooters Association. RM

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

20 Responses to The Anti-Conservation Mission of the NRA

  1. avatar AJ says:

    Here we go again!!!

    Ole wild Bill sure knows how to stir em up!!

  2. avatar Alan Gregory says:

    Bill is right on the mark with his words. In Pennsylvania, the NRA and its membership in the Keystone State said nothing – to my knowledge – when Big Coal destroyed and degraded stream after stream in the southwest corner of the state through :”longwall mining.” No habitat, no hunting. It’s pretty darn simple. Especially telling are the League of Conservation Voters’ data regarding NRA political contributions and conservation voting records.

  3. avatar Dan Stebbins says:

    One of the many reasons why I don’t belong to the NRA & nor will I ever join the NRA.

  4. The folksong Paradise where “Mr. Peabody’s coal train has hauled it away,” tells what is wrong with the NRA.

    The NRA will be on the side of shooting with pistols (to kill “the empty pop bottles”), but they’ll be on the side of Mr. Peabody hauling away the countryside even more.

  5. avatar Mike says:

    NRA = No Roadless Areas

  6. avatar Save bears says:

    I have never been under the illusion that the NRA was for conservation, the are simply a gun ownership organization, yes they support hunters because hunters own guns…

    I dropped my membership with them many years ago, and will never again belong to them, I don’t like their special interest style of political pressure..

    I support hunting as well as gun ownership but have found other ways to fight for those rights..

  7. avatar john weis says:

    Drill here, drill there, drill ANWR.

    “”10:59 a.m. | Reaction to Palin: The conservative Pat Buchanan called this the “biggest political gamble I think in American political history.” Speaking on MSNBC, he described her as “a reformer with guts,” a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association and as a “right-to-life feminist” who would energize the Republicans’ conservative base.””

  8. avatar jimbob says:

    Nothing in this article surprises me either. I don’t believe that most hunters consider themselves “conservationists”. I think many identify more with the Natural Resource exploiting politicians than the other side, thus the McCain-Obama support issue doesn’t shock me either. Many hunters actually work in some form of resource extraction industry and support it. A lot of hunters I know would probably be willing to take game even if they knew the numbers were struggling. (It has happened throughout history in this country) I think repopulation efforts and bringing species back in certain areas has made hunters immune to or downright ignorant of conservation principles. I truly wish we could change the fact that as far as voting goes, most hunters consider environmental issues way down on their list—even after gun-control—not considering that without conservation they would definitely lose the ability to hunt. Many guys who consider themselves hard-core hunters are even against setting aside habitat and protecting it from development just on principle alone. Isn’t that ironic? Consider our Vice President as an example…..

  9. avatar Mike Post says:

    JimBob, you are full of beans. Hunters have paid for the lion’s share of the wilderness and wildlife habitat you love with taxes on firearms and ammo ($75 MILLION in the 4th quarter of 2007 alone) as well as their monetary support for non-profit orgs like the Rocky Mnt Elk Foundation, Mule Deer Foundation, etc. that spend additional volunteer raised millions each year purchasing conservation easements and enhancing habitat by doing things like removing fences, killing noxious/invasive weeds, funding wildlife studies and providing conservation education for youth. Yes the NRA is worthless from a conservation perspective, and most hunters I know recognize that. If all the hunters you “know” are as you describe, maybe you need a lifestyle change…

  10. avatar jimbob says:

    Mike–sorry if you’re offended but look at the party affiliation of most of your hunter friends—Republican. Look at the party platforms of hard-core Republicans. The fact that firearms and ammo purchases support Game and Fish organizations which oversee hunting and are highly politicized doesn’t really disprove my point. How many Game and Fish Depts. and hunting organizations truly support predator numbers in ecosystems? THAT would be a true test. Look I just made a point. I’m not anti-hunting. I just wish ALL hunters truly supported conservation principles.

  11. avatar Mike Post says:

    JimBob, the extremism that you describe is, in my humble opinion, not present in the vast silent majority of the American public. My experience has been that most of my hunting and shooting friends find themselves in a quandry most of the time: we are 1/2 democrat and 1/2 republican. We cant defend the complete platform of either party but are forced into making a Hobson’s Choice. We find that the polarized positions of both parties doe not fit our view of a world where you can defend gun ownership, hunting, roadless wilderness, and ESA listings with the same voice. Sorry to over react a bit but it seemed like a very broad brush you were wielding…

  12. avatar Jon Way says:

    Mike, I agree with JimBob. While in your hearts most hunters are 1/2 Dem and 1/2 Rep, the vast majority end up voting for the Rep, with the most recent being the worst environmental pollutors of our time. And they don’t seem to truly go to bat for habitat preservation/ecosystem protection such as including predators (which literally caused the prey species they hunt to act the way they do) as important members of the ecosystem. Of course, there are some exceptions just like in anything else….

  13. avatar Mike Post says:

    Fair enough, lets just all accept the fact that there are some enlightened folks out there who hunt, shoot guns and have a liberal holistic view of the natural world. I think we want to engage people in factual debate who disagree with us, not turn them away from the discussion with broad negative stereotypes about who is what. I have a hunter friend who is a staff member of TNC who fights the battle from the opposite direction. Nice talking to you all.

  14. avatar Izabela says:

    My husband and I listen to this song often..Mr. Peabody’s coal train has hauled it away,”
    how sad it is
    how sad..BUT..how current NOW in 2008…
    Sarah Palin will haul away Alaska
    and the wolves and the bears..
    Stop the train…not the coal train..the MCcail old brain train..

  15. avatar AJ says:

    “Fair enough, lets just all accept the fact that there are some enlightened folks out there who hunt, shoot guns and have a liberal holistic view of the natural world. I think we want to engage people in factual debate who disagree with us, not turn them away from the discussion with broad negative stereotypes about who is what. I have a hunter friend who is a staff member of TNC who fights the battle from the opposite direction. Nice talking to you all.”

    Mike … there are but it is a big education process. I think the tide is slowly turning. I have been involved in hunting orgs over the past 25 years in one capacity or another and looking back I think the attitudes of hunters are changing.

    I still have hope.

  16. Did anyone read where I said that I belong the American Hunters and Shooters Association. RM?

    You can support gun rights without more or less joining the anti-conservation wing of the Republican Party

  17. avatar John says:

    I got nothing against people who are responsible with guns; I’ve never owned one nor do I intend to because I have no need of one. I respect hunters whom have a moderately justifiable reason for hunting (precisely: food) and do so retaining a respect for the animal they have taken.

    Though if I may be so bold:

    Even if money is ‘raised for conservation’ how much of it is actually used on constructive activities?

  18. avatar JB says:

    “Even if money is ‘raised for conservation’ how much of it is actually used on constructive activities?”

    Good question. The short answer is, a lot. The Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson Acts established federal excise taxes on the sale of hunting and fishing equipment, respectively. The monies raised from these taxes are redistributed to the states for conservation projects and related research. In the scheme of government spending, they don’t amount to all that much, but they are substantial sources of conservation funding, and they are “earmarked” for conservation and research (meaning they can’t be usurped by the feds for some other purpose).

  19. avatar jimbob says:

    JB, I agree to a point about the money being used for conservation purposes, but it usually used to benefit only the hooved species (or birds) that get hunted. It is also used in many cases to decrease predator numbers in the guise of “conseving” hunted species. This is not true conservation—artificially boosting populations to be hunted. THAT is what makes me sick about hunting organizations. To me that is one step from “shooter ranches”.

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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