Donation Will Help Petition Drive to Protect Hunting Rights
When anti-hunters tried to take away the right to hunt bears by attacking bear hunting methods in 1996, the Michigan conservation community banded together to defeat them by passing Proposal G, and a big part of its success was a large donation by the Michigan Bear Hunters Association (MBHA). At their annual convention on March 22 at Treetops Resort in Gaylord, the Michigan Bear Hunters Association once again stepped up financially to defend hunting rights by announcing a $100,000 donation to Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management (CPWM).
“We want this donation to inspire other sportsmen’s groups to step up financially to support this initiative, too,” said Tim Dusterwinkle, president of MBHA. “Animal rights groups will keep coming back to attack hunting rights, one by one, if we don’t make this stand now.”
The donation is the largest single contribution received by Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management, a coalition of conservation, hunting, fishing and trapping organizations behind the petition drive to pass the Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act (SFWCA). The citizen initiative would protect the ability of the Natural Resources Commission to name game species using sound science, effectively preventing anti-hunting and animal rights groups from being able to overrule decisions by Michigan’s professional biologists to name game species. The initiative would also protect free hunting and fishing licenses for military members, which are part of a bill the animal rights groups are trying to repeal, and establish a $1 million rapid response fund to fight Asian carp.
“This donation will help CPWM continue the petition drive to collect the signatures we need to pass this initiative,” said Matt Pedigo, who is the past president of MBHA and represents them on the steering committee for Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management.
“Once again, when it’s needed most, the Michigan Bear Hunters Association is leading the way to protect hunting rights in Michigan from radical out-of-state animal rights groups,” said Erin McDonough, executive director of Michigan United Conservation Clubs.
This donation comes on the heels of the anti-hunting group Keep Michigan Wolves Protected turning in almost 230,000 signatures to referendum Public Act 21 of 2013, which was passed last May to allow the bipartisan Natural Resources Commission to name game species and issue fisheries orders recommended by biologists, and to provide free hunting and fishing licenses to active military members. Keep Michigan Wolves Protected has received over $1 million from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and its affiliates. HSUS, located in Washington, DC is the largest anti-hunting and animal rights organization in the country, despite its name.
“This is the fight we’ve been saving for,” said Keith Shafer, a board member of Michigan Bear Hunters Association. “These are the same radical groups who are attacking hunting rights across the country, and have attacked them here on multiple occasions. If we don’t stop them now, there’s no doubt they’ll come after our hunting rights in Michigan year after year, species by species.”
Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management is a coalition of Michigan conservation, hunting, fishing and trapping organizations formed to pass the Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act. Its steering committee includes representatives from Michigan United Conservation Clubs, Michigan Bear Hunters Association, Michigan Trappers and Predator Callers Association, Michigan Hunting Dog Federation, Michigan chapters of Safari Club International, Upper Peninsula Sportsmen’s Alliance, U.P. Whitetails, Inc., U.P. Bear Houndsmen, and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
Logo courtesy Michigan United Conservation Clubs