Hunters and Anglers Are Green? Who Knew?

October 21, 2009 By: Marshall Cutchin

One of the strange if predictable results of the “new journalism” is that old realities can be lost and then recast all over again as if they sprang from the head of Zeus. So we shouldn’t be surprised when a Web site like Tonic — which bills itself as a being all about goodness — points to a Reuters report that hunters and anglers are concerned about global warming and even likely to go up against the coal and oil industries over carbon dioxide emissions. As Tonic reporter Darragh Worland says, “Hunters and anglers, who generally tend to lean to the right, make up a significant portion of the Heartland, not to mention tens of millions of votes. The National Wildlife Federation estimates that 42 million Americans hunt or fish and that those sports and other wildlife-related activities contribute around $172 billion to the economy.”
Hello? Anyone ever heard of the Pittman-Robertson Act, a law that since 1937 has resulted in more than $2.5 billion dollars going to wildlife and habitat restoration — all from a 10% excise tax on gear sales (including all your fishing rods, reels, hooks, and lines)? This is a law that has successfully transcended politics because — very simply — it has worked, even if hunting and fishing participants have ended up footing the bill for many conservation projects that non-participants enjoy.
Despite what the Reuters reporters suggest, fishermen and hunters can’t fairly be cast as left-leaning or right-leaning. They’ve always leaned first toward conservation and preserving an outdoors for future generations to enjoy.