John Kerry, Lifelong Hunter!-- AND Animal Rightist??
By Humberto Fontova
"I do a better job of fighting for the rights of sportsmen than George Bush does." That's John Kerry boasting to outdoor writers while visiting New Orleans recently.
Recall that last November during the Iowa Caucus, Kerry (with cameras rolling) took to a cornfield with a shotgun and blasted two pheasant. He folded the suckers. BLAM!-BLAM! Two shots. Two dead pheasant. "I've been hunting all my life!" he grinned while hefting the mangled birds. "I love doves too. You just gut 'em and hang for a few days. I love 'em cold roasted." Some think this clinched his victory in Iowa.
According to analysts, Gore blew it in 2000 by neglecting rustic voters, by coming across as anti-gun, anti-hunting-- thus anti-middle America and elitist. Heck, Gore couldn't even carry his home state of Tennessee! What a dork.
Terry McCauliffe and crew said "No Mas!" Never again! Those pheasant paid the price--a little "collateral damage" on the way to a Democratic triumph next fall, let's call it. Animal rightists shut their eyes, grimaced and banged their Hare Krishna finger-cymbals while chanting for Earth Goddess Gaia's reprieve.
But they sucked it up manfully. Kerry's still their man.
Lifelong hunter, pheasant slayer, dove eviscerator, John Kerry gets a perfect 100 for his Congressional voting record from every animal rights group in the U.S. The National Rifle Association just sent out a notice to this effect.
"I've had my name on every piece of animal rights legislation ever passed by Congress!" Kerry boasted --not in rural Iowa--but to the Humane Society a bit later. And don't confuse Humane USA with the folks who build shelters for orphaned puppies and kitties. Humane USA is a PAC (political action committee) for a gaggle of the most virulent animal rights groups in the U.S., all opposed to hunting, trapping, fur-wearing, animal testing--the whole bit. Since these groups are technically "charities," they can't fund political candidates. So they go through Humane USA.
Thing is, hunters and fishermen fund more genuine conservation than all these groups put together and quintupled--more than ten times THAT total.
Sportsmen passed the laws themselves. First, the Pittman-Robertson Act (1937) which imposed an excise tax of 10 per cent on all hunting gear. Then the Dingell-Johnson act ( 1950) that did the same for fishing gear. The Wallop-Breaux amendment (1984) extended the tax to the fuel for my boat. All were passed and are supported by us sportsmen. All use the proceeds to fund state and Federal conservation projects, as in buying and preserving woodlands, wetlands, etc.
Notice, to preserve nature, they DON'T tax Birkenstock hiking boots and Ying-Yang pendants--but DO tax my shotgun. They DON'T tax Yoga manuals and Tofu tid-bits wrapped in recycled paper-- but DO tax my 30.06 rifle. They DON'T tax binoculars or birding Field Guides with cutesy photos of the red-cockaded woodpecker and spotted Owl-- but DO tax the shotgun shells I blast at Mallards before arraying on my grill as Duck-K-Bobs (cooked rare and lovingly basted with plenty of butter, Cajun seasoning and teriyaki sauce).
Going further, they DON'T tax Kayaks and rock climbing picks and ropes --but DO tax my compound bow and rifle scope. They DON'T tax the plastic water bottles on Mountain bikes (or the mountain bike itself, come to think of it) or the cutesy spandex shorts these yo-yos wear--but DO tax my duck decoys. They DON'T tax Yanni and Enya CDs-- but DO tax the arrows I fling at Bambi before he sizzles on my grill as Bambi-burger ( lovingly draped with thick bacon slices that dribble their appetizing fat into the meat while cooking. Then a chunk of cheddar cheese melted on top.)
You talk about a "Cheeseburger in Paradise," Jimmy Buffet! Try one from Bambi!
Ten cents of every dollar I spent on my hunting and fishing toys (I'd cite the total but my wife might read this) funds America's wildlife conservation programs. From my guns and ammo to my duck calls and decoys, from my rods and reels to my lures and gaffs, from my trolling motor to the very fuel for my outboard--ten cents of every dollar in this ghastly expenditure funds habitat for Spotted Owls, Red Cockaded Woodpeckers, Bald Eagles, Ospreys, Manatees, Snail darters, Black-Footed Ferrets, California Condors, Florida Panthers, Sea Otters, and Gopher tortoises.
None of these creatures (from what I hear) make a decent Gumbo or even a passable Chili. I must be crazy. Call it "collateral benefits."
And this avalanche of tax dollars come ON TOP of those I fork over for the stacks of licenses, and permits, and stamps I'm required to have before I set a foot afield or set my boat afloat. Last season these totalled $400 (But sweetie! There's HUGE fines for hunting and fishing without them!)
And all the above is ON TOP of my voluntary dues and assorted donations to such as Ducks Unlimited. (But snookums! I thought you LOVED the duck print I brought home from the DU Banquet/auction? And especially the picture of me with the nice Hooters girl who worked the keg in her camo bikini ?)
Let's take the duck stamp all U.S. duck hunters buy. Last year it cost me 15 bucks. (And don't confuse it with the my state duck stamp that set me back another ten.) Since 1934 us Duck hunters have contributed--just from purchasing this stamp---$670 MILLION to purchase and maintain America's National Wildlife Refuges.
In total, just last year, hunters and fishermen ( NOT birdwatchers, NOT rock-climbers, NOT kayakers NOT nature- hikers ) contributed 1.7 BILLION "big ones" (to quote Steve Martin as "The Jerk") to wildlife conservation in America. Here's president Reagan himself while celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Pittman Robertson act: "Those who pay the freight for conservation are those who purchase hunting equipment."
You'd think some thanks might be in order from freeloaders--from the smarmy crowd not forced to buy any "Bird-Watching stamp" or "Hiking stamp," or "Kayaking stamp", or "Rock Climbing Stamp," or Yanni-Listening Stamp," or "Quartz-Crystal-Gazing-Stamp." You'd think Tofu-munchers might appreciate us hunters' funding habitat for their spotted owls, kangaroo rats, snail darters and louseworts, and bankrolling the scenery on their "nature trails" as they self-righteously plod along in their "'earth-friendly"Birkenstocks and granola-flecked frocks, quartz crystals rattling in their pockets en route to a hillside Sunrise worship, crystal-gaze and Enya-listen.
You'd think, now and then, they might throw us a bone.
Well, think again. "If we could ban ALL sport hunting in a moment we'd do it!" That's a direct quote from Wayne Pacelle, the current head of Humane USA-- the very group going whole hog for Kerry with their millions in PAC money.
Yokel that I am, I was woefully ignorant of the fabulous powers of Quartz crystals. A New Age site set me straight. "Our universe is one of vibrations," it sighs. "Impurities within your body alter these vibrations preventing it from getting the vibrational energy that keeps it operating in harmony. Crystals emit pure, strong vibrations and help eliminate the distortions and restore proper balance."
Alas, you can even zero in on certain crystals depending on your particular ailments. Quartz crystals, for instance "are a sublime gift from Mother Earth," (same for my Bambi-Burgers) "These crystals can help one overcome stress and can enhance your ability to enjoy life," (same for that foamy stuff in the keg at the Ducks Unlimited banquet.)
After scrolling down to the order form, it turned out that Bambi Burgers and Bud come much cheaper than quartz crystals.
Anyway, Wayne Pacelle knows Rome wasn't built overnight. He's realistic. "We'll use the ballot box and the democratic process to stop all hunting in the United States. We will take it species by species until all hunting is stopped in California. Then we will take it state by state."
Another incremental step is The Fund For Animal's (Wayne Pacelle was it's former director) campaign to outlaw all hunting on National Wildlife Refuges--the VERY refuges us HUNTERS bought with OUR $670 million in duck stamp money!
Birdwatchers, hikers, crystal gazers, and Yanni fans get the run of these places year round--and I REPEAT: without buying any kind of stamp or license or having any of their gear taxed. They can do all the crystal gazing, spotted owl watching, granola crunching, Enya-listening, Yoga- chanting and Hare-Krishna finger-cymbal banging their little hearts desire year long.
We ask for a few weeks to hunt on about one-tenth of the acreage on these places.
"NO!" they scrunch their noses, wag their fingers and shriek, spraying the air with Tofu spittle and granola crumbs. "You buncha yahoos have no right to hunt in these places! Ugghh! Get out! Shoo!" Then they devote all their financial muscle and political pull to keep us out.
But how about the "moderate" green groups, some say, like the Sierra Club, Audubon Society, etc.? Can't we make common cause with these fine folks? Can't we all aim our Kayak paddles and trolling motors in the same direction?
You hear this lovey-dovey twaddle from the more "enlightened" outdoor types: sniffers at jet skis, balkers at snowmobiles, catch-n-release flyfisherpersons. Most grass-roots hunters and fishermen know these people are dreaming, or worse. They sense it instinctively, just from listening to and looking at the yo-yos they propose as allies.
We share NOTHING with the granola crowd. Let's cut the cr*p and face it. Their's is a radically different mind-set, lifestyle, worldview. We have much more in common with the typical non-hunting/fishing Republican golfer than with the typical catch-and-release fly fisherperson.. We're more at home with the typical Republican football and hockey couch potato than with a fervent nature hiker. At least I am.
That insufferable sanctimony of the granola-greenies, their snootiness, bossiness, their totally atrophied sense of humor--is anyone surprised that Jane Fonda fly fishes?
I exclude fishing guides from my criticism. For them, catch-n-release isn't smarminess, it's simple dollars and sense. Their little s**t eating smile as they release the fish on those fishing shows might look like Jimmy Carter's. I say it belongs on Snideley Whiplash. "Yipee!" he's thinking. "Now I'll charge another client out-the-wazoo to catch this same fish!"
But hey, don't get me wrong. My hat's off to that guide. More power to him. All I say is you won't see any catch-n-release on MY boat. Catch--FILLET--and release maybe.
And let's look at the "moderate" greenies record. The Sierra Club was at the forefront of banning cougar hunts in California. In other words, they were shoulder to shoulder with Wayne Parcelle and the Humane Society's in their first steps towards their goal of outlawing all sport hunting.
"We do not advocate hunting." That's the National Audubon Society (much endowed by Thereza Heinz Kerry.) "Our objective is wildlife and environmental conservation, not the promotion of hunting. We think lots of the justifications for hunting are weak ones, and too often exaggerated for commercial reasons."
Here's The Sierra club's official position: "Wild animals should not be valued principally in terms of whether they can serve as targets. As members of the family of life, we should respect the moral right of all creatures to exist, to be free of unnecessary predation, persecution, and cruel and unduly confining captivity."
Sierra Club Board member Paul Watson calls fishermen, (not hunters, fishermen.) "the biggest bunch of sadistic b**tards in the world!"
Call me paranoid, but I'll go with the Republican golfer and couch potato over this bunch. Not surprisingly, the Sierra Club heartily endorses John Kerry for president..
"We did a lot of field protests against hunting." Says Wayne Parcelle about his days at the Fund For Animals. "We'd follow the hunters into the woods and talk with them about hunting. In the process the hunters were seldom able to make a kill. The distraction and us tromping with a hunter scared away the animals. "
I read this and blinked. Then I looked over at Parcelle's picture and gaped. He has a straight nose! And seems to have all his teeth!
Where was this stuff going on?! Where do these angelic hunters live?
The Beltway, it turned out. Well, listen up, Fund For Animals: Texas has OODLES of hunters. As does Michigan, Missouri, Alabama, Louisiana, indeed most of Red State America. Follow THESE hunters to their deerstands while bellowing New Age chants into your bullhorns. Pound tin buckets and bang your Hare Krishna finger-cymbals under deerstands THESE hunters spent weeks scouting out. Ruin THEIR fall vacations.
Shortly, you'll discover what Hare Krishna finger-cymbals taste like.