hunt, election season, election 2016

For most of America, the next five months will be known as election season.

For America’s sportsmen, it will be Pander Season.

This is when politicians of every ideological stripe tell us how much they love us. They’ll speak about our important role in the nation’s cultural traditions, praise our contributions to conservation, regale us with a few stories about their own outdoors experiences – they might even wear a little camouflage to let us know they’re one of us. And, of course, they will speak loudly and at length about the Second Amendment.

But beginning the day after the elections, most of them will start treating us like we’re that one over the limit. We won’t just be forgotten. We’ll be sacrificed to some greater good – any greater well. Like oil and gas. Or timber, agriculture, mining, state budgets, home builders, shipping…well, any interest group that has more money to pour into their campaigns than hunters, fishers and other outdoors folks.

Maybe this year sportsmen can shake up that tradition a bit by meeting those panderers with some interesting questions. This may not change their votes – but it might change the minds of some of those being pandered to. You can help expose the harm many of them have been doing to the people they claim to love.

Here’s a starter list:

Do you believe federal lands should be transferred to state ownership or sold to private holders?

What is your position on protecting America’s wilderness system?

Do you support fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund? If not, why not?

What priority should the nation give to fish and wildlife when writing regulations for energy development on public lands?

What is you position on the EPA’s new definitions of “waters of the U.S.”?

Do you know how many acres of wetlands are at risk without that new definition?

Can you tell us how many hunters, fishermen, and other outdoors sports enthusiasts there are in the U.S. and in your state?

Do you know how many people are employed by the outdoors sports industries, and what the economic impact is of those industries?

What is your position on the federal regulations to protect public air, land and water?

Do you support strong enforcement of the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act?

What is you personal connection to the outdoors?

Do you believe in the scientific consensus that global warming is happening and human actions are the major cause?

Do you support President Obama’s Clean Power Plan and the Paris Agreements to reduce carbon pollution?

The best way to give these questions some real bite is to do a little research before those meetings to see just what the politician’s positions have been on those issues. In many cases, their Web sites will provide the answers. If not, a Google search on the topic and the pol’s name might provide a wealth of information.

But the important thing is to let the panderers know you won’t be taken for granted, that you’re educated on the issues – and you’re watching what they will do after they the election.

Have a good Pander Season.

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Hunting by m01229