HUNTING

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 1993:

The Wildlife Legislative Fund of
America, a hunting and trapping lobby,
recently sneaked an amendment to the 1994-
1995 Ohio Department of Natural Resources
budget through the state House of
Representatives that would raise $450,000 a
year for a subsidiary, the Wildlife Conserv-
ation Fund of America, through a 25ยข sur-
charge on the sale of hunting, fishing, and
trapping licenses. The amendment was intro-
duced by representative Ronald Amstutz, at
request of WLF director Tom Addis. After the
proposed diversion of public money to a spe-
cial interest lobby became known, Amstutz
claimed it was all a mistake. “I was misin-
formed,” he told Michael Sangiacomo of the
Cleveland Plain Dealer. “I thought it was a
small raise for the people who write the licens-
es. I made certain assumptions, and apparent-
ly I was wrong. I never looked at the lan-
guage.” ODNR legislative liasion Scott Zody
said his agency “did not ask for” the amend-
ment, “and does not support it.”

The surcharge flap came as the
WLFA, the League of Ohio Sportsmen, and
the Ohio Federation of Conservation Clubs
pushed for a May 4 vote on a bill to legalize
dove shooting, which the groups have sought
since 1981. Bill proponents described it as a
now-or-never effort to send a message to
newly elected legislators who may not favor
hunting. “Those who care about sportsmen,
some of our best friends over the years, are
moving out,” one lobbyist told Akron Beacon
Journal outdoor editor Tom Melody. “Age,
term limits. Things are changing in a big
way.” (Ohio voters may ask their representa-
tives to oppose the dove hunting bill, HB 287,
at 1-800-282-0253.)
The Vermont House of Represent-
atives approved a bill to allow moose hunting
on March 29, 72-67, but rejected it 72-63 the
next day, as 11 former supporters abstained
and four others changed their votes. The turn-
about was credited to the efforts of House
Speaker Ralph Wright, D-Bennington, who
may be thanked at Matteson Road, North
Bennington, VT 05257.
California Fish and Game
Director Boyd Gibbons bucked the hunting
l o b b y April 2 by asking the state Fish and
Game Commission to ban bear hunting with
dogs. “Hound hunting is an old tradition,”
Gibbons said, “and I do not lightly dismiss
custom and tradition. But it is not enough to
defend a form of hunting simply because it is
traditional. Dogfighting and cockfighting are
also traditions, but traditions that our society
for good reasons does not sanction.”
The New Hampshire legislature
on April 17 defeated a bill to make hunters
wear orange, 290-50, on grounds it would
infringe individual rights.
The Missouri Department of
Conservation, one of the few wildlife agen-
cies in the U.S. not funded mainly by hunting
license sales, has bulldozed over a pond con-
sidered vital to the study of diminishing sala-
mander populations in order to build a $1.5
million skeet-shooting center. “It’s been stud-
ied for many years because of the peculiar
combination of spotted, tiger, and marbled
salamanders,” said Washington University
professor Richard W. Coles. “There’s only
one other spot in the world where the three
species occur together, and that’s in Nova
Scotia.” Numerous MDC staffers turned out
to help volunteers move the salamanders, but
experts say they have little chance of surviv-
ing at the new site, which lacks natural cover.
The Foundation for North
American Wild Sheep, a trophy-hunting
groups, raised $2.6 million at a recent
fundraiser. FNAWS channels money to the
hunting programs of 12 western state wildlife
agencies, and took an active part in defeating
the Arizona trap ban initiative last fall.
Hunters’ Advocate, a pro-hunting
computer bulletin board, debuted circa
March 1, sponsored by the bowmaking firm
Chippewa Archery Inc. The modem access
number is 906-643-961; modem setting is
8N1; and the baud rate is either 1200 or
2400.
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