May 28, 2023

Preventing Hunting Through Effective Messaging

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A few days ago I was reading Online an article that appeared in The Maine Wire, written by M.D. Harmon, the title of which is, “Anti Gun Liberals Prefer Emotion Over Fact.”

The construct of the article entails the messaging that took place by the gun-hating crowds after the mess in Newtown, Connecticut. The article is good but I’m a bit surprised that the author almost comes across as seeing this messaging scheme as something new, when it is a tactic that has been around for decades and has effectively ruined the lives of many people, including the destruction of personal liberties, among other things.

The article states:

As reported by Paul Bedard of The Washington Examiner, the activists created an 80-page blueprint called “Preventing Gun Violence Through Effective Messaging” that was intended not to advance a rational argument but to “incite a moral panic” by the use of arguments deliberately designed to create an emotional climate hostile to Second Amendment rights.

Throughout the entire article, readers can substitute the subject of guns, gun violence, Second Amendment, etc., with whatever your favorite concern is.

As an example, in Maine, members of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the Wildlife Alliance of Maine (WAM), and others, have formed the organization “Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting.” They want to ban bear hunting with bait, bear hunting with hounds and bear trapping. I assure you, nothing these people will write or verbalize will have anything to do with facts or advancing a rational argument based on facts or science. It will be an emotional climate hostile to hunting and trapping in general and bear hunting and trapping specifically.

It is important that Maine citizens understand the tactics of those undergoing the process to place a citizen’s referendum on the November 2014 ballot. The garbage they will be subjected to has no semblance of sanity, fact or rational discourse and will be laced with emotions all designed to create a climate hostile to hunting and to demonize anyone who would support it. These tactics are not new. If they appear new to you, perhaps you need to get out a bit more and get involved in the life around you.

In 2004, a similar referendum, put on by the same anti hunting totalitarians, was defeated. It appears initially that the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW), Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, Maine guides, Maine trappers, Maine hound hunters, and any and all other outdoor sportsmen, are going to struggle to defeat this effort.

It is my opinion that any hope to defeat this referendum should be based on effective messaging in defense of responsible bear management. While it is important to make sure that education, which includes actual facts and the science behind responsible bear management, supported by the long history Maine has in taking care of its bears, this alone will not stir the voters. Emotions will. If those in opposition to this bear referendum are not willing to fight fire with fire, i.e. create an emotional climate hostile to the efforts to ban effective black bear management, I fear a waste of effort and resources.

How strongly convinced are MDIFW and Maine sportsmen, that the present bear management plan and tactics are working that they are willing to do what it takes to defeat this utter nonsense from fringe groups hiding behind animal welfare in order to put a stop to hunting, trapping and eventually fishing. It is coming.

(Perhaps if sportsmen can defeat this new anti hunting effort, enough Maine citizens will better understand the importance of a constitutional amendment to protect hunting, trapping and fishing. If so, then also this time it can be presented to the legislature and citizenry the right way – protecting hunter/trapper/fisherman harvest and get it done.)

I and many other warned often after the 2004 bear referendum, in regards to the non authoritative and fearful approach being taken by MDIFW, guides and sportsmen in general, that being a nice guy wasn’t going to make these environmental zealots go away and leave Maine sportsmen alone. Environmentalists are all about take and nothing about giving. This historic fact must be learned.

Any coalition of Maine sportsmen to fight this initiative, needs a speed course in the tactics used to prevent hunting through effective messaging and then turn it around. The other side began long ago. Take notice of the continuous letters to the editors in many Maine newspapers, all repeating the same emotional talking points. This is being done by design. Many of those letter writers are paid members of these totalitarian groups and they will bombard the media with emotional clap trap for the next 14 or 15 months. And that’s only one small piece of the pie.

What do the Maine sportsmen have planned?