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Some Hunters Disenchanted with the NRA

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Jeff White, Oct 24, 2004.

  1. Jeff White

    Jeff White Moderator Staff Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Alma Illinois
    Some Hunter Disenchanted with the NRA

    Another shameless attempt to convince the public that the Second Amendment was put into the constitution because the founding fathers wanted their descendants to enjoy duck hunting..........


    Some hunters disenchanted with NRA

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. - You won't find Mike Hayden's name in the National Rifle Association's membership rolls.

    Oh, it was there years ago. When he was growing up in western Kansas, where hunting is almost a way of life, he was an enthusiastic supporter of the powerful gun-rights organization.

    But today, he is part of a growing group of hunters who have become disenchanted with the NRA and its controversial ways.

    "I just don't think the NRA represents the best interests of hunters, with the extreme positions it takes," said Hayden, who is secretary of the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks. "It does some good, but it also does some things that are counterproductive; some things that hurt the image of the average hunter.

    "I decided that I didn't want to be part of an organization like that anymore."

    Hayden certainly isn't alone. As the NRA becomes more aggressive in its role to fight gun control, it is coming under increased fire - even from its largest group of supporters, hunters.

    Take a look at some of the issues in the last year alone that have generated a barrage of shots:

    Some hunters worry about their image as the NRA continues to support private ownership of a wide range of assault weapons, even those which critics say have no sporting use.

    The NRA has sharply criticized state and federal game and fish agencies, saying they have unknowingly contributed to the decline in hunting by creating needless red tape in the form of overbearing regulations.

    The organization has blasted the Clinton Administration for its so-called "Roadless Initiative," which closed roads on millions of acres of federal land. The NRA said that move has closed many areas to drive-up hunting and added to access problems. It supports the Bush Administration's plan to open those roads again.

    The NRA has rebuffed efforts by organizations such as the Sierra Club to become allies in a program designed to improve wildlife habitat.

    Kayne Robinson, president of the NRA, downplays those incidents and the criticism they have generated. He said the NRA still is the champion of hunting sports and is about to become more so.

    The creation of a new program, "Free Hunters" - which will place a priority on solving some of the problems that have led to a decline in hunter numbers - has already attracted 20,000 members in its first two months of existence, he said.

    He added that almost 3 million of the NRA's overall 4 million-plus members are hunters and that there has been no mass exodus of disenchanted sportsmen.

    "They realize the NRA is still their biggest ally," Robinson said.

    But some hunters aren't so sure.

    "To many, any opposition of the National Rifle Association is like spitting on the American flag," Joel Vance wrote in an article in the summer edition of the Outdoor Guide. "I beg to differ."

    Like Hayden, Vance is among those who aren't afraid to admit that there's a "former" in front of their status as NRA members.

    "I belonged to the NRA years ago, when it concentrated on gun and hunter safety, an admirable goal," he said. "Now it is so focused on shooting down anything that smacks of gun control that it has lost me.

    "In my opinion, it has become so strident in its views that it often does more harm than good."

    Vance, who lives in Russellville, Mo., would like to see the NRA soften its approach and develop a more cooperative nature - an approach that, he says, would better represent the hunters in the organization.

    "There are many hunters, me among them, who are turned off by the nastiness of the NRA," Vance wrote in the Outdoor Guide. ". . . The NRA is very effective with its 4 million members, but think of how much more impact it could have with the 200 million or so Americans who don't hunt if it adopted a more friendly approach, even to those who don't share its views.

    "The attitude that 'If you ain't for us, you're agin us,' is stupid, self-serving, and in the long run, self-destructive."

    Rick Dykstra, a hunter and former police officer who now lives in Milford, Kan., also has philosophical differences with the NRA.

    He praises the organization's work in protecting hunting and other sporting guns. But he thinks it goes too far when it supports some other small arms.

    "I'm all for hunters rights," Dykstra said. "But when you look at the Second Amendment, I don't think our founding fathers had any way of predicting where firearms would be today.

    "I can see protecting our hunting guns and handguns. But a 50-caliber sniper rifle? I don't see why anybody needs a gun like that.

    "I think if the NRA would soften its stance, more people like me would join."

    Pat Wray, a 20-year member of the NRA and a board member for the Outdoor Writers Association of America, is another hunter who is disenchanted with the pro-gun organization.

    After the NRA rebuffed offers to join in an alliance with the Sierra Club to protect wildlife habitat - a move that Robinson said was generated by the environmental group's support of anti-gun politicians - Wray criticized the organization for its narrow scope.

    "The NRA talks about how much it does for hunting, but in many ways, that's misleading," said Wray, a longtime hunter and freelance writer from Corvallis, Ore. "They support politicians simply on the way they vote on gun rights.

    "But sometimes, those people are the same ones who care very little about the environment and wildlife. They are the ones who are the least supportive of protecting hunting habitat from roads, logging and mining."

    Still, Wray remains an NRA member and isn't about to withdraw.

    "They are the primary, if not the only, voice protecting the Second Amendment," he said. "I don't agree with everything they do, but they have their good points."

    Many hunters who are NRA members say those criticisms of the pro-gun organization represent the minority, not the majority, view. They insist that the NRA is still an effective champion of their cause.

    Harold Volle considers himself one of the average hunters the organization is dedicated to protecting.

    Volle, 68, who lives in Cairo, Mo., about 35 miles north of Columbia, has hunted for most of his life. But it wasn't until 25 years ago that he realized how important the NRA was to his future.

    "At the time, there was a lot of talk about gun control," he said. "The talk was mostly about handguns and assault weapons.

    "But it scared me. If they can take away one type of gun, they could eventually take away our hunting guns.

    "I had seen what the NRA could do with their lobbying to stop gun control. I figured they were one of the best friends a hunter could have, so I decided to get behind them.

    "I've never regretted it. If it weren't for the NRA, I'm not sure we'd have hunting in the future."

    Supporters and critics of the NRA agree on one thing: The organization has never been timid in its approach.

    Many remember the NRA convention in which then-NRA president Charlton Heston held up a gun and announced to a cheering crowd, "From my cold, dead hands."

    Others recall the day that his successor, Robinson, in supporting George W. Bush in the 2000 presidential election, said, "If we win, we'll have a president where we can work out of (his) office."

    And still others recall the mid-1990s, when an NRA fund-raising letter labeled federal law-enforcement agents as "jackbooted thugs," an incident that caused some, including President George Bush Sr., to resign from the NRA.

    If such rhetoric was designed to grab the attention of the public, it apparently has worked. The NRA is one of the most visible - and respected or hated, depending on your perspective - organizations in the nation.

    It started in 1871 with the primary goal of promoting and encouraging rifle shooting. But it quickly broadened its scope.

    Alarmed by the proliferation of gun-control bills in Congress and state legislatures, the NRA entered the political realm. And with funding provided by its huge base, it became one of the nation's most powerful lobbying forces.

    Its message: Don't mess with the Second Amendment - the 27 words that read "A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

    "We don't tilt at windmills," Robinson said. "We take on issues that are important.

    "And we're pretty good at what we do. If you look at some of the things that have been proposed in the last 25 years and some of the things we've stopped, you can see what we've done for hunters and other law-abiding gun owners."

    The NRA now is turning its eyes to another priority: rescuing hunting. And it has identified an unlikely opponent: the game and fish agencies that manage that sport.

    "There are many fine people in state and federal government who have dedicated their lives to promoting and preserving hunting," Robinson said. "But today, there are government agents, who unwittingly or not, are active participants in the slow death of hunting.

    "We must no longer tread on eggshells around agencies and officials who are clearly hostile to hunting."

    Robinson went on to criticize the red tape that hunters face today - the complicated regulations, the hunter-safety courses that are too time-consuming, and the different zones and boundaries.

    "If you want to hunt today, you'd better bring a lawyer with you," Robinson said. "You'll need him to figure out all the regulations."

    Robinson blames those regulations in part for the decline in today's hunter numbers, which have fallen from 17.4 million in 1980 to less than 13 million last year.

    The NRA plans to work with state and federal agencies and the legislatures to bring "common sense," as Robinson put it, to many of those hunting management plans.

    But Hayden thinks Robinson and the NRA are taking aim on the wrong target. He insists the states are the leaders in promoting hunting, not the problem.

    "It's true that we now have mandatory hunter education and more complex regulations," Hayden said. "But look at the tradeoff. Look at what we've done with that funding. We have some fabulous hunting now.

    "If we're going to manage the resource properly and provide hunting opportunity, we need those regulations."

    Hayden paused and added, "In an ever-urbanizing society, the world the NRA reminisces about - the world of 50 years ago - is gone. There are whole new challenges. Things are more complex.

    "I think the state agencies are responding to those challenges. We're the ones who are on the front line in the fight to save hunting."

    John Hoskins, director of the Missouri Department of Conservation, also thinks the regulations are necessary.

    "We have within our own agency looked at our regulations and wish that they could be simpler," he said. "And whenever possible, we have simplified things.

    "But looking at the big picture, if hunting is to continue into the future, it must be managed. And with management comes regulations.

    "The tradeoff is better hunting, and in the case of hunter education, safer hunting."

    One of the major goals of the NRA's new hunting program is to help the average guy - the hunter who might only have a couple of weekends to get out and enjoy his sport.

    "The problem that is the most acute is access. Hunters like this need a place to go. And increasingly, they're seeing the gates closed," said Robinson.

    Robinson was especially critical of the Clinton Administration's move to end maintenance and construction of roads on almost 60 million acres of national forest land. Although large parts of that land remained open to hunting, Robinson claimed that it effectively choked off access to the average hunter.

    But some hunters take issue with Robinson's views. Making the areas more remote, they say, creates better hunting, not worse.

    They cite studies by Trout Unlimited, a conservation group, that show the best hunting and fishing in Idaho and Oregon - as measured by the quality and quantity of big game and fish taken - came in the roadless areas.

    Nowhere has the split over the NRA's actions been more evident than at the Outdoor Writers Association of America (OWAA) annual meeting in Spokane, Wash., this summer.

    The nation's outdoors writers have a history of being largely sympathetic to the NRA. Many of those writers are hunters and gun owners themselves. But an incident at the meeting created a rift in the organization, which is made up of 2,027 writers and other members of the outdoors media, and left the NRA embroiled in controversy.

    It started when a representative of the Sierra Club, a national environmental group, announced plans for a Natural Allies program, in which organizations would join to protect wildlife habitat, which indirectly would benefit hunters. Robinson rebuffed the effort, saying it was a veiled attempt to "hoodwink hunters into voting for gun-ban candidates."

    "It's pretty hard to hunt without guns," he said at the meeting.

    Robinson justified his statements by citing the Sierra Club's support of politicians who have failing grades in gun-rights issues.

    The OWAA's board of directors voted to rebuke Robinson, sending a letter voicing the organization's disappointment with his actions in criticizing a fellow supporting member in a mealtime setting. That created a split among members and led to a petition in support of Robinson.

    Almost 60 individuals and 14 supporting members have resigned from OWAA over the incident. And many more have voiced their disapproval.

    But many others took the opportunity to criticize the NRA.

    "The NRA continues to blindly advocate 'Vote your gun.' So narrow. So sad," wrote Rich Landers, outdoors editor of the Spokesman-Review of Spokane, Wash.
  2. RavenVT100

    RavenVT100 Participating Member

    Aug 18, 2004
    Do these people not get it? There is no such thing as an "assault weapon."

    There are assault rifles. There are no "assault weapons."

    The reason the NRA is against prohibition of assault weapons is because they don't exist. It's an arbitrarily defined term that covers a bunch of rifles and pistols that really are used in shooting sports. If these people really cared about their right to hunt, they'd get wise to the fact that the goal is to eventually name everything as an "assault weapon" and demonize it to the point where people will support broader gun control.
  3. goalie

    goalie Participating Member

    May 1, 2003
    Minnetonka, Minnesota
    The second amendment of the constitution of the United States of America has nothing to do with hunting. It never has, and it never will.

    The only "sporting" use implied by the 2nd amendment would be the hunting of tyrants.
  4. Nathaniel Firethorn

    Nathaniel Firethorn Participating Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Exit 8A, Peoples' Republic of Corzinistan
    Kerry propaganda.

    - pdmoderator
  5. Monkeyleg

    Monkeyleg Mentor

    Dec 25, 2002
    Decatur, AL
    "There are many hunters, me among them, who are turned off by the nastiness of the NRA,"

    Sounds like Kerry promising to fight "more sensitive" wars.
  6. Flyboy

    Flyboy Participating Member

    Apr 19, 2004
    Oklahoma City, OK

    ...there are those of us who are disenchanted with the NRA because it is too willing to compromise and back down; because it's not extremist enough. What does that make us?

    I remember many years ago when my dad resigned his membership over the little flap when the NRA referred to ATF as a bunch of "jack-booted thugs." And then apologized. The latter was referenced prominently in his letter of resignation. Personally, I think dad was right on the money with that one.
  7. El Tejon

    El Tejon Elder

    Dec 24, 2002
    Lafayette, Indiana-the Ned Flanders neighbor to Il
    How's that American Rifle Association coming along?:rolleyes:
  8. 45Cal

    45Cal New Member

    Jul 26, 2004
  9. 45Cal

    45Cal New Member

    Jul 26, 2004
  10. Hkmp5sd

    Hkmp5sd Mentor

    Dec 24, 2002
    Winter Haven, FL
    Divide and Conquer.

    There are some people that don't see the need for hunting when you can buy your meat at the local store.

    There are some people that don't see the need for owning "high-powered, scoped sniper rifles" commonly used by hunters.

    There are some people that require the services of a proctologist before they will be able to see anything.
  11. GSB

    GSB Active Member

    Jan 11, 2003
    These "hunters" better realize that they are on the losing side of demographics in this country. Without the the rest of the shooting community, they will be eventually be looked on as an anachronism and written off politically, as they were in England. They better get it through their heads that if it weren't for the rest of us non-hunting gun owners, they would be much further down the road of England and Australia than we are.
  12. Waitone

    Waitone Mentor

    Dec 25, 2002
    The Land of Broccoli and Fingernails
    Why am I not surprised the article saw daylight.
  13. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

    Dec 24, 2002
    Idahohoho, the jolliest state
    The leftist extremists rehash articles of this sort every four years.
  14. gezzer

    gezzer Senior Member

    Aug 15, 2004
    Elmer Fudds :banghead:
  15. txgho1911

    txgho1911 Active Member

    Mar 21, 2004
    Wakeup call

    What kind of legislation or executive order at some or what lever of gov would possibly wake some of these folks up?
    2nd amendment of the BOR is not about hunting. Maybe if the semi-auto hunting rifles in 30-06, or just every cal over 243win, and every semi-auto shotgun was banned with a sunset. Banned for retail sales to non LEO. Maybe the lever action and pump make a big come back. Maybe the only people not waking up will be the ones who use bolt actions and never consider anything else.
  16. Silent-Snail

    Silent-Snail Member

    Aug 28, 2004
    On the front just behind the Cheddar Curtain
    Where do I get my license:evil:

    For those hunters I meet who say "You dont need an ex-military rifle to hunt". I say this, "if thats how yopu feel why dont you hunt with spears, and true I dont need them, but if I could get ahold of a semi-auto M-60 you bet your keister I would hunt with it."

    Ah behold the power of stupid.:D
  17. feedthehogs

    feedthehogs Participating Member

    Jan 8, 2003
    If gun owners and hunters got off their lazy butts and gave a damn and voted, the NRA would still be just a safety and training organization.

    When you leave the work up to some one else, you got no right to complain when its not done right.

    20 years of gun shows have shown me the average hunter is brain dead.
  18. JPL

    JPL Participating Member

    Apr 3, 2004
    Wow, a few people who are unhappy with the organization out of a membership of what, 4.5 million?

    That's what, .000000000000000003 percent?

    And it warrants a news paper article?

    Must have been a slow news day...
  19. cracked butt

    cracked butt Mentor

    Jan 3, 2003
    SE Wisconsin
    On the other hand, I read in this months Field & Stream about how the NRA refuses to team up with the likes of the Sierra Club and a few other Environmentalist groups for lobbying efforts. The article went on the rip the NRA'a shortsighted stance on the issues. The article was written by the magazine's resident socialist.

    I'm glad I let my subscription to that turd of a magazine run out a few years ago already. Outdoor Life is on its way out in my household as well.
  20. c_yeager

    c_yeager Mentor

    Mar 14, 2003
    I'm sure that some hunter 100 years ago said something very much like "I can see protecting our hunting muzzleloaders and pistols. But, cartridges? I don't see why anyone needs a gun that takes metallic cartridges."

    I bet they said the same thing about repeaters too.

    Perhaps someone should remind this gentleman that just about every hunting rifle in the world owes its lineage to a military firearm at some point in history.

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