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Hunting and Wildlife Policy Committee

Hunting policy was actually a pretty interesting committee meeting.  Legislative affairs is mostly stuff I’m already pretty aware of, so it’s not really anything surprising.  Most of the really interesting information comes out in the discussions in executive committee.  But this had several issues that I wasn’t wasn’t at all familiar with.

One thing NRA has been working on is right-to-hunt constitutional amendments.  Oklahoma has been the first state to pass one of these consitutional amendments, which has strong language and actually offers protection for hunters.  Other states have such amendments, but usually include wording such as “subject to the state regulatory powers.” which makes the right effectively symbolic.  Oklahoma’s has real teeth.  Right now they are working with states where the game commissions are constitutional entities, since it makes it easier to create right-to-hunt provisions, while still maintaining the comissions’ ability regulate hunting in accordance with sound wildlife management processes.

Another thing that’s happened is that the Bush Administration has declared a conference to rethink this whole North American Wildlife Conservation Model, which was established by Teddy Roosevelt nearly 100 years ago.  Some updating of policy would be beneficial to sportsmen, but obviously this model has worked for nearly a century, so major changes would not be in the interest of sportsmen.  NRA is working with various other groups to make sure this turns out to be beneficial to sportsmen.

One issue that was brought up that I think is very facinating is the issue of the fence between the United States and Mexico, which has serious implications when it comes to hunting and conservation.  The fence is apparently not planned to consistently follow the border, but will cut off significant parts of United States territory to hunters.  The fence is also meant to stop people, but it wll also stop a lot of wildlife and game species which range across Mexico and the southern United States, which will have the effect of cutting some populations of from another.  Understand that NRA is not taking a position for or against a border fence here, just that it was discussed in terms of its impact on hunters and wildlife.

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