First off, no one is saying hunting and fishing is as important as death benefits to the families of service members making the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms, or cancer treatment for children, or food inspections. Every sportsmen out there understands we aren’t the only one’s impacted by this government shutdown, and that our concerns are about sports and recreation – not life and death.

That’s a given.

But we do have a right – even a responsibility – to let the people we pay to keep our government running understand that their failures are causing us pain, too.

While they’re throwing insults at each other, fighting for face time on the talking heads shows, and playing “No, it’s your fault!” we’re losing special moments we have spent months planning for, dreaming about and, in some cases, even paying nonrefundable deposits for.

Last week, organizations across the sportsman’s world took their turns in telling the nation – and those politicians – just what this governmental failure was costing us. Outdoor recreational industries reeled off the cost to the economy in revenue and salaries lost. Conservation groups held nationwide teleconferences detailing the damages to fish and wildlife because of programs that were halted. And some fishing guides protested with “No Fishing” signs on public waters they actually help pay to manage.

We all know this eventually will end. But also know the same tricks might be played again.

So reading, listening, and remembering the following roundup of just how our world has been hurt by these political games is a worthy exercise. Keep the information handy to send off to your politicians the next time they start talking about shutdowns.

Florida Keys



Anglers and the Sportfishing Industry

National perspective