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Apathy is killing our outdoor heritage activities. Speak UP for hunting and angling activities. If we don't we'll loose them.
Apathy is killing our outdoor heritage activities. Speak UP for hunting and angling activities. If we don’t we’ll loose them.
photo Dave Richey ©2012

Does apathy adequately describe many of Michigan’s anglers and hunters? I think it does. For those who haven’t visited a dictionary, apathy means a lack of emotion or feeling or a sense of indifference.

An election in 2006 proved that most hunters didn’t care much about a Michigan dove hunt. The measure got whipped in a bad way, and few hunters seemed very upset about it. No one seemed to care.

Folks, believe it or not, but that vote for a Michigan dove season went much deeper than keeping state sportsmen from shooting mourning doves. It was the first big step in a long parade of other items that can and one day will be stuck on the ballot. The next one might directly affect something you feel strongly about.

Would apathy keep people from fighting for their country?

How would you feel if it was put to a vote to end archery hunting. Or,  the next vote may be to prohibit firearm hunting for deer and/or other game species. It might come to a vote to outlaw dogs while hunting which would affect most bird hunters and bear, bobcat, coyote and fox hunting. Don’t think so? Dream on!

Does anyone out there understand that the anti-hunters whupped us on the dove issue? Why, because many hunters are apathetic. They don’t care enough to get involved. They wait for others to fight their battles for them. Read again the definition of apathy. It’s present here.

I know a guy who whined about the dove season being defeated. The man has never voted for anything (including presidential elections) in his life, never discussed hunting issues with anyone other than his buddies, and he was most upset when I told him he didn’t deserve the opportunity to whine and gripe. That behavior is reserved for those who have enough courage and gumption to vote.

People who don’t vote on issues of importance to anglers and hunters should have no say in how a democracy is run. And trust me on this: anti-hunters know that sportsmen are unwilling to take a stand, and many folks claim to be too busy to vote. Say what?

Who among these unenlightened sportsmen is willing to wake up and see what goes on around them. They gripe and complain about a possible raise in license fees, but when the sporting segment of this country needs help to fight anti-hunting measures, where are these folks? They are too busy to care. Apathy reigns supreme.

Many avoid the voting booth as if the curtains were coated with asbestos. The day of letting others fight our battles is over. People who want to hunt, now and in the future, had best realize that forces are underway to eliminate all types of hunting. Wake up!

The deer kill was down last year. It also was down the year before last, and likely will be down again this year. Do you care? As a hunter, aren’t you concerned about a declining deer herd? You should be

Will the same people who are against legalized hunting want to ban ownership of firearms? What will happen to our wildlife if the DNR has no money to manage it, which has already happened. Will the United States become neutered like Australia and Great Britain? Does anyone care? People need to get a grip on reality soon.

An out-of-control deer herd is entirely possible. The state has worked hard for years to reduce the herd size, and in many areas, they did their job too well and the deer numbers are way down. We saw the results of this problem the last two years. Each person can make a difference but they must get off their backside, learn what the really important issues are and get involved.

Michigan United Conservation Clubs, the state’s largest conservation organization, is trying to fight the good fight. They keep people posted on what is happening, but MUCC membership rolls have shrunk dramatically from their highs of 20-30 years ago.

Why? The short and ugly answer is public apathy. Sportsmen no longer care about joining groups. They often say they don’t have time or money to be a member. And for some that is probably true.

Others have different priorities. Where fishing and hunting was once their good time, bowling and golf may have replaced some of the leisure time activities. Others simply are not joiners, and care little about joining Delta Waterfowl, Ducks Unlimited, National Rifle Association, Trout Unlimited and many other excellent organizations that are trying to fight for all sportsmen.

Where do we go from here? I’m one man, preaching to the choir and to those who enjoy reading about the outdoors and who has nothing against hunting, but I’m only one man. I’m not a one-man army.

Speak up and show some true American spirit

Others must stand up and be heard. They must stand and fight the good fight. Are you willing to step up to the plate for our fishing and hunting and wise management of those resources?

I’ve heard it many times at a conservation club, Kiwanis meetings, or in other places. People actually ask me to fight their battles for them. I’m just one man with one voice, but they must make their voices heard. Sportsmen must become involved before it is too late.

Hunters of all stripes, whether bird hunters or a bear and deer hunter, must unite under one common banner to endorse all forms of legal hunting and be prepared to vote on critical issues. If one method of hunting is lost, as happened on the dove issue, anti-hunters will go after the next least defensible hunting method. Will it be bow hunting as many believe?

It could be dog ownership which would hurt hunters who use a pooch for their sport. If they don’t support bear and deer hunting, and treeing coons with a hound or chasing bunnies with a beagle, than it is quite likely their lack of action will help future anti-hunters win.

The past issue was supposedly about dove hunting. That’s nonsense. It was simply the first nail in the coffin of legalized hunting in this state, and hundreds of thousands of hunters stood by and watched it happen.

How sad. And who will feel sorry for you when your favorite fishing or hunting sport comes up on a ballot, and one by one, our outdoor pleasures and heritage are taken away from us because apathetic sportsmen don’t care enough to become involved?

Or because they are too lazy, and cannot comprehend what is happening to them. It’s time for many people to wake up, smell the coffee brewing, pull on their boots and fight for our hunting heritage.

It really is worth fighting for. Grow up, wake up, and fight. And if we lose part of outdoor heritage because of apathy, don’t come whining to me to fight even harder. I’ve fought this battle for more than 50 years.

What exactly have you done?

Posted via email from Dave Richey Outdoors

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