BHA member Brian Sexton shares his thoughts of recruitment, vigilance and unity in this letter to the Oregon chapter.
Thank you for your time and for all of the work you do to advocate and support our public lands and the hunters and anglers that depend on them. I know from my brief time on the Nevada chapter board your work remains largely behind the scenes but the work is vital if we wish to continue the lifestyle that many of us choose.
Hunters and anglers have yet to find and wield their voice. So often we become focused on the “antis” that we lose sight of the biggest threats to our way of life; loss of habitat, loss of access and failure to recruit new sportsmen. Faced with true threats we remain divided, too many sportsmen cast their vote based on an NRA rating and ignore conservation metrics. If sportsmen can unite to advocate for access and habitat protection we would have a very powerful voice.
It is imperative that we educate sportsmen to risks of habitat and access loss. Many of us have seen it firsthand and we need to inform those who haven’t yet. We have come a long way in protecting our landscape but as we have seen, years of hard fought gains can be reversed with a pen stroke. We must always stay vigilant.
As we strive to be good stewards we must also be good teachers. As we all know much of the funding for our wildlife agencies comes from licenses and tag sales. If sportsmen fail to recruit new members wildlife agencies soon will be forced to look elsewhere. Hunters and anglers do not want to be on the outside looking in when wildlife management decisions are made.