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    Greg and Beth

    the political and personal musings of two
    mountaineers living in west-central Florida
     
    HSUS Dishonest? Whodathunkit? Comment
    Gregory Morris, 8/12/08 8:16:07 am
    This recent Op-Ed in the Charleston Gazette criticizes the recent state-mandated increase in hunters education classes for students in middle and high school. Of course, Andrew Page says it is a "burden" on the taxpayers, and nothing more than a handout to the "hunting industry", or a "hunter recruiting" gimmick. Page is the national director of the HSUS "wildlife abuse campaign", in case you didn't figure it out.

    What a load of bullshit. First of all, hunter education courses have a huge effect on hunting-related accidents. But, they also teach responsible wildlife management and ethical hunting. Anyone who is against a safety course clearly has an uglier agenda. In the case of HSUS, it is abundantly clear that they would like to eliminate all hunting in the United States.

    In addition to getting it wrong, HSUS lies. *Gasp*. I know. Shocking isn't it?
    By passing a law requiring that public schools teach middle and high school students how to hunt.
    The law doesn't require that public schools teach students how to hunt. It requires they offer a SAFETY course to those who are interested.

    Ok, here's a fact that Page mentions:
    Since the Division of Natural Resources is funded mainly from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses, the decline in hunters has put a severe strain on their budget.
    Indeed, the Division of Natural Resources is hurting for money. What Mr. Page clearly doesn't understand is that the WVDNR is responsible for maintaining the things that I LOVE ABOUT WEST VIRGINIA. The beautiful wild areas of the state are, by and large, under the control of the WVDNR. The fish and wildlife that I value, not necessarily as food, are protected and managed by the WVDNR. So, why does Mr. Page want to guarantee that the fastest growing industry in West Virginia (tourism) loses a critical ally (sportsman)?

    He suggests that raising license fees will make up for the budget shortfall, but in reality all that will do is reduce hunting even further (and worse, promote poaching.) The State is not "dumping" money into this... they are letting organization such as the NRA, National Wild Turkey Federation, etc. pick up some of the bill by requiring the schools use material that is already available from said organizations. In fact, these pro-hunting organizations have always donated time and materials to hunters safety. All that will change is the frequency they are asked to do so.

    Page also doesn't get the fact that sportsman pay a huge chunk of taxes to the state every year. In addition to license fees, and the taxes on hunting supplies, the sportsman from other states flock to West Virginia to hunt and fish. Simply put, that brings a lot of money into the state, which in turn means better tax revenues.

    Without hunting and fishing, the state would LOSE most of its precious natural wildlife resources.

    [Comments are closed after a month.]

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