by Cody McLaughlin - Monday, September 28, 2020
Hunter-backed groups like the NRA work hard to tell sportsmen’s story and address the cultural, political and demographic challenges to the future of hunting and wildlife conservation. In fact, this is the very reason the NRA launched its Hunters’ Leadership Forum (HLF) in 2014 while the NRA Institute for Legislative Action fights nonstop for hunters in the legislative arena. In step with the need to support sportsmen and reach those who have never been exposed to traditional outdoor sports, the American Conservation Coalition, in partnership with Safari Club International, the National Wildlife Federation and the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable, unveiled a “Stand Up For Sportsmen” campaign on Sept. 10 to honor America’s 62.7 million sportsmen and women for their contributions to the conservation of wildlife and our environment.
Broadcast live on Zoom and Facebook Live, the kickoff event promoted the expansion of hunting and fishing opportunities, which the Trump administration’s Department of Interior has done from day one, as sportsmen’s dollars remain the key to conservation’s future. The event featured remarks from wild game chef Scott Leysath, cooking editor of Ducks Unlimited magazine and author of “The Sporting Chef’s Wild Game Recipes” cookbooks, who talked of his experience in the great outdoors, followed by a panel discussion with representatives from the Property and Environment Research Center, Ducks Unlimited and the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) also gave a brief video address. The goal: to “change hunting’s reputation.”
As the Stand Up for Sportsmen website notes:
“Both inside and outside of the environmental community, we must change the narrative surrounding hunters and anglers to highlight the truth: Sportsmen and women are vital to maintaining wildlife habitats and sustaining long-term conservation efforts. Follow along as we educate a new generation about the importance of sportsmanship.
Hunters also play a vital role in keeping wildlife populations at sustainable levels. When populations of wildlife become too high, the environmental impacts can be profoundly negative. By ignoring the vital role outdoorsmen and women play in conservation, we are denying the environmental movement a key ally.”
All Americans are encouraged to take the first step in “standing up for sportsmen” by visiting its website and signing a petition to open more public lands to hunters and anglers, create platforms for public access on private land and educate the younger generation on the role sportsmen and women play in wildlife conservation to protect and preserve our sporting heritage. For more information on the petition and/or to sign it, click here.
Such campaigns are crucial in ensuring cultural acceptance of hunters and hunting. NRAHLF.org articles such as “Saving Hunting by Promoting the Big Picture” go far in explaining how and why we hunt as we learn to reach out and talk with the public about hunting.
American hunters, recreational shooters and anglers are fortunate that groups such as the NRA, SCI, the American Conservation Coalition and the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable, among others, work to unify sportsmen. We take pride in celebrating America’s heritage of conserving our natural resources and environment and of truly being the world’s best conservationists. Whether one is an environmentalist, hunter, angler or concerned conservationist, each of us can visit the Stand Up for Sportsmen website and pledge to stand up for the millions of sportsmen who actively conserve America.
Working together, we can stay a step ahead of animal rights extremists’ efforts to eliminate hunting for future generations. Next up, we will go to the polls on Nov. 3 to vote for the mainstream, all-American candidates who stand for freedom and our core values.
About the Author
Cody McLaughlin is a noted conservationist and conservative thought leader on public policy issues including hunting, fishing, gun rights, free-market tax and wage policy and the environment. He works as a GOP consultant for conservative political causes, managing clients’ digital communications and online presence and as a trustee of the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance, helping to represent the state’s 1.2 million sportsmen in the political arena.
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