Dean Responds to the NRA

Here's the lame response by NRA flack Hobbs to Pat Wray's good piece and Tony Deans reponse to Hobbs. Recently, Pat Wray claimed that NRA does little for hunters. He is wrong. NRA works with federal, state and local legislatures and regulatory agencies to preserve and improve hunting rights and opportunities throughout the country. Wray acknowledged that NRA is working to protect Sunday hunting, pass No-Net-Loss legislation and lower the minimum hunting age. But the greater part of NRA's work was ignored. NRA led efforts to create dove hunting seasons in Minnesota and Michigan; we support federal legislation that will open public hunting access on private land; we help state wildlife agencies acquire new public hunting lands; and we are working to guarantee that every piece of public land is open to hunting. Wray decries NRA for our opposition to the wholesale declaration of roadless areas across the West. While he may have the time and the means to go hunting indefinitely, not every hunter can maintain a string of packhorses, and afford weeks needed for a backcountry hunt. The average American hunter hunts close to home and indulges in an out of state trip when he can. His kids cannot miss school for weeks and he only gets limited annual vacation. Therefore, hunting is limited to weekends and holidays. It does not serve the average hunter to have millions of acres of publicly owned land to be virtually inaccessible or to have to quit hunting earlier because hunting land is too rugged to access. Therefore, NRA works to ensure as many possible hunters have the most hunting opportunities possible. Wray, conversely, wants to ensure that the best hunting is accessible only to him and to those who can afford it Dawson R. Hobbs NRA-ILA Manager of Hunting Policy 703-267-1206 -- Tony Dean Outdoors Issues A Response to the NRA's Dawson Hobbs Dawson Hobbs of the NRA offers up some typical propaganda in his assault on Oregon outdoor writer, hunter and NRA member, Pat Wray. Let me offer some examples of instances I'm aware of on their so-called effort to help hunting. I followed the Minnesota dove hunting issue closely, mostly because I like to hunt doves and I was deeply involved in the South Dakota effort to establish a dove season back in the 1970's. I don't recall the NRA being involved in that effort, though they could have been. But there were many organizations involved in the restoration of dove hunting in Minnesota, and none of the others are making the claim of "leading the effort." That might serve the NRA and their followers to think they did something they didn't do. And, pray tell, where is public land access threatened? I can offer a clue here. Access on public lands isn't the problem, management is. I traveled the west this Christmas season as I have for the past several years, and saw clear evidence of overgrazing. Where has the NRA been on this issue? Impacting public land by overgrazing is a far more insidious threat to hunting than tilting at false windmills. If roadless areas mean public lands are inaccessible, than the NRA is guilty of painting the American hunter as a weakling that can't go anywhere his 4wd won't go. I give my fellow hunters a lot more credit than that. I guess I am suggesting here that if the NRA, as I've been led to believe, thinks that the only way to access public lands is via 4wd or OHV's, then I will say clearly, they are wrong. Price an ATV, or any 4wd vehicle these days, and I'll suggest that if a hunter can afford either, he can certainly save the money for a once-a-year trip to the backcountry. As for helping state agencies acquire public lands, I wonder where the NRA has been over the past few weeks in South Dakota as a handful of legislators attempted to prevent the GFP from acquiring public lands without legislative approval. The SD Wildlife Federation was there, and so was the SD Conservation Alliance. The NRA was…well…where were they? Where were they when the NRCS tried to lower South Dakota's wetland delineation standards a few years back, an effort that would have resulted in the drainage of the seasonal and temporary wetlands responsible for the nation-leading duck production that flies out of the Dakotas each year. Where have they been as the public welfare ranchers convince the US Forest Service with the aid of the current administration to give them complete authority over national grassland issues? Their lobbying arm in South Dakota, the SD Shooting Sports Association, has a full time lobbyist in the state capitol, who's testified on concealed carry laws and other gun issues, but unless I'm wrong, he said nothing about the attempt to stop the acquisitiion of public hunting land by our state agency. Mostly, I resent the suggestion so firmly planted by Mr. Hobbs, that Pat Wray is one of the so-called "elite" hunters who can afford those expensive trips. Pat Wray is a fulltime freelance outdoor writer, and you have to sell a helluva lot of stories to be called rich in that game. In fact, I know most of the outdoor writers in America, and I don't know a fat cat among them. The NRA should go back to fighting for our second amendment rights instead of trying to cripple, belittle or apply a coat of tar and feathers to any hunter who disagrees with them.