September 28, 2020

Elk Breeders Association Lawyer Miffed At Idaho Statesman Outdoor Writer

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There’s one thing that will be guaranteed when it comes to passionate debate, a continual bombardment of opinions. Opinions are plentiful and easily found. What is hard to find is good reliable facts. We ask the people to make decisions about many issues yet, seldom can they do this because of too much opinion and not enough truth and facts.

The Idaho Elk Breeders Association is fighting a battle for all Americans. Many people across America aren’t even aware of the threat to their industry by those who want to legislate their ideals on others. There is a small but vocal group in Idaho trying to put a stop to elk ranching and the practice of hunting on elk ranches. This is a property rights and a hunting ethics issue, neither of which should be legislated. All Americans take heed as this is just another step to strip us of our constitutional rights

There are two things that may happen concerning this legislation. The first attempt is to get some bills passed through Congress to ban elk farming, ranch hunting and other restrictive measures from placing a moratorium to requiring double fencing to name a couple. Currently there are six bills up for discussion. If some or none of these bills get passed, it is more than likely that promoters of banning elk ranching will mount a campaign for a public referendum vote to be decided at the polls – a long a costly battle.

Whether this issue is decided in the halls of Congress or at the polls, decisions should be based on facts. As I said before, we can turn any page of a newspaper, click on our favorite television broadcast or log on to our favorite Internet media source and get opinions. What about facts?

The Idaho Elk Breeders Association has mounted what I believe to be a factual campaign to stop the nonsense of those wanting to legislate personal beliefs. They have answered all questions asked of them and have proven time and again through science, facts and statistics, that they run a good business that is clean, disease-free and poses no legitimate threat to public safety, the wild elk populations or damages the reputation of hunters.

What gets presented in the mainstream media all too often is the repeating of the same old story. We are all guilty of taking the easy way out by believing what we read or hear instead of searching for the truth. I have been involved in this kind of media long enough to see that when one source gets a story, it is repeated over and over by other media sources. I am guilty of this probably as much as the next guy as often I provide links for readers to go read other columnists stories. When I have opinions to offer, like this story, I clearly categorize my story as being an opinion piece. With that, I do the best I can to research, study and learn about a subject and base my opinions on facts.

What readers and those on opposing sides should expect is a fair presentation of facts and opinions based on those facts, so that intelligent decisions can be made. That doesn’t very often happen. The media is a very powerful source. For centuries the masses have relied upon media to provide them with information that effects their lives by reporting news – from facts not opinion. None of us are perfect and sometimes information gets skewed but with everyone striving for the truth, facts get sorted out from fiction and the cream rises to the top.

Dennis Charney is a lawyer representing the Idaho Elk Breeders Association. He has taken issue with one outdoor writer from the Idaho Statesman, Pete Zimowsky. His beef is that Zimowsky writes his stories only from his own perspective in an attempt to impose personal beliefs on others. Obviously, Mr. Zimowsky has the right to express his opinions as we all do. I think Mr. Charney is questioning whether using the Idaho Statesman’s podium in his outdoor columns is the right place for it. This is what Mr. Charney has written to Pete Zimowsky.

Subject: Elk Hunting Preserves
Date: Sun, 04 Feb 2007 12:33:25 -0700
I have read your recent articles with interest. You present the issue from your perspective only – that’s why you take shots.
The right to use one’s land as he pleases is guaranteed by the constitution so long as that use does not harm others. You want to impose your view of hunting on others and have elk hunting preserves banned so that nobody can enjoy them.
Some people feel the only fair way to take an elk is with a bow. If they had the power of the pen, as you do, they may try to take away the rights of others who want to use a rifle. Along those lines, some people feel the only fair way to catch a fish is with a hand tied fly. Perhaps we should pass legislation banning the use of worms and salmon eggs to make sure the fly tying purists are not offended because others have a different view of what constitutes “fair” fishing.
Elk hunting preserves do not harm elk hunters who prefer to hunt in the wild. They offer alternatives for those who don’t draw a tag or who don’t have the time necessary for a full ten day hunt. They bring in millions of dollars for the Idaho economy and provide collateral employment for Idaho citizens i.e. taxidermists, vets and butchers.
Perhaps you should analyze your unwarranted attack on this industry. Those who oppose hunting and fishing outright will use this moment as a stepping stone to achieve their ultimate goal – a complete ban on hunting and fishing rights. You are playing right into their hands.

Dennis M. Charney

While Mr. Zimowsky has written several articles about the elk ranching issues, his latest presents his perspective about what he chooses to call “high-fence” hunting or “shooter bull” operations. The interesting thing that I find in his article is that it is well written and clearly spells out his feelings about how he views hunting on a ranch and I take few issues with what he writes. For whatever the reasons, he doesn’t make any attempt to differentiate between hunting ranches. Clearly they are not all alike.

I respect his opinion and how he perceives what hunting should be. Unfortunately, there are another 20 million-plus other hunters who may not see things quite the same way. This is what makes us unique and this is why we cannot make laws that force hunters to follow one man’s ideals.

If we begin legislating how hunting will go down, where will that stop. What is fair chase? Who decides? Do we draw the line at hunting within enclosures? All enclosures? If not then how big is big enough? Do we outlaw baiting, food plots, tree stands, blinds, scopes, auto-loading weapons, scent-lok clothing, lures, calling, ATVs, pick-ups and anything else you want to add to the list? As you can see it can get pretty ridiculous.

Laws are made so chaos doesn’t run amok. Our fish and game departments are directed through legislation to manage wildlife and with that to provide opportunities for hunters, fishermen and trappers. These written laws are to keep in check those things like poaching, illegal weapons and things that without them their job of managing game would be difficult to say the least. Beyond that, what we as hunters decide to do within the laws, is our choice.

I hunt. I chose to use a high powered rifle with a scope. That fits me. Most all of my friends hunt with black powder guns – some very primitive, other’s modern. Others choose to use a bow or a crossbow, some in blinds or a tree stand, others just want to stalk. Are any or all of them wrong? Is one hunter “more ethical” than another?

Many will argue that “high-fence” hunting is damaging the reputation of hunters. I have to disagree with that. In all my travels and discussions with hunters and the general public, I would have to say that by far the number one issue is trespassing – this comes from both hunter and landowner. I could list out many issues that one could perceive as being bad for the hunter’s reputation long before ranch hunting shows up on the list.

Access to land is the biggest deterrent to hunting today. This lack of land access has nothing to do with “high-fence” hunting and everything to do with negative ad campaigns by animal rights groups and the media presenting their lies as fact. Combine that with trespassing issues that anger landowners and soon there’s little land left to hunt on.

We as hunters need to be spending more time and energy waging a public and landowner relations campaign and focus on the important issues. Legislating hunting ethics and stealing one’s property rights is the beginning of a treacherous and slippery slope and something that I believe will come back and haunt the hunter who opposes these things.

Tom Remington

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