February 7, 2023

Idealism: Keep Politicians Out of Wildlife Policy Decisions

politicssuckNot only is it idealism, it’s fools play to actually think that anyone can keep politicians out of wildlife policy decisions. This is not going to happen and never has. It’s also one of the reasons politics AND environmentalism are so deeply rooted into wildlife policy decisions. It may be a problem that there exists too many outdoor enthusiasts who think just as Craig Dougherty, at Outdoor Life, in an opinion piece, when he expresses that:

I’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that the last person I want making wildlife policy is a politician. This is especially true when it comes to making major decisions on how wildlife and the future of hunting should be managed.

Well, dang! Get in line Bubba! There’s nothing I would like any more than to tell politicians to get to hell out of wildlife management and my life as a whole. As a matter of fact, those readers who know my work understand that I would like to see politicians just get to hell out…..period!

But this is idealistic poppycock. It is also one of many reasons I began writing back over a decade ago about hunting, fishing, trapping, the outdoors in general and how politics and politicians were screwing it all up. Sticking one’s head in the sand stating they are not going to contact their representative because they don’t want them involved in wildlife politics will accomplish nothing. For those who vote, try voting for somebody who believes as you do.

I despise politics in wildlife management! I’m partial to the North American Wildlife Management Model and managing game animals for surplus harvest. When politics control wildlife policy decisions, these two policies get flushed down the toilet. And we, as the real conservationists, the outdoor sportsman, are supposed to bang our heads on the floor and refuse to play anymore?

I think someone needs a time out.

But this opinion writer is not alone and it’s a shame really. The other day I was visiting a message board that I check into from time to time to see what’s going on in the trapping world. What appeared to me to be a young person, posted a question about a particular species’ trapping season but qualified his/her question by first stating that he/she didn’t want anybody offering an answer that had anything to do with politics. Isn’t that like me telling you to go to Washington and find an honest person?

This, in and of itself, I found troubling but it got even worse. It took a while for the conversation to get rolling there but eventually this young person revealed that they planned to be a “fur bearer biologist” and that he/she didn’t like politics, etc. etc. Boy, is this person in for a rude awakening.

Money, greed and politics are all mightily engrained into our lifestyle in America. I contend that, for many, perhaps like Mr. Dougherty, it’s much easier to escape to the fields and streams and wish it would all go away. But it will not and if more and more people like Dougherty and this young, aspiring fur-bearer biologist, don’t recognize reality and/or are not willing to address it, what hope is there left that there will be anything left to hunt, fish, trap, etc.?

Dougherty says that he would support an “agency” person within fish and wildlife over a politician.

…when it comes to actually writing the regulations and setting deer policy, I’ll take the agency guy over a politician every time.

I understand the attempt at somehow separating writing wildlife policy from the politicians but for the most part isn’t the entire structure of a fish and game department political? Someone has to hire the biologists, the wardens, the commissioner, etc. Don’t be so naive to think that politics aren’t involved at the initial hiring. Some would argue that state regulations protect those hired so the next political hack that arrives at the door can’t fire them for political reasons. That doesn’t change the fact that politics played a role from the initial hiring and always will. All that has changed is the party in power.

Perhaps instead of choosing the role of running away, someone with this kind of frustration should become more involved. Get involved in finding ways to structure fish and game department guidelines to ensure that politicians and their filth and grime cannot and does not micro manage the department. But don’t forget that there will come a time when you will need the power of being able to run to your favorite politician and beg for help. It always happens. Don’t weave your own noose!