With the myriad hunting, conservation and environmental organizations competing for dollars and memberships these days, it’s often difficult for the average sportsman to know who’s worthy of support, and who to avoid.
In recent years the Sierra Club, the nation’s largest environmental organization, has gone to great lengths to appear supportive of hunting, fishing and professional wildlife management in an attempt to distance itself from more recognizable—and radical—anti-hunting organizations.
With its national headquarters located in San Francisco, the Sierra Club is a supporting member of national hunting and fishing writers’ groups and features biographies of its “conservation leaders” who hunt and fish on its website.
The Sierra Club’s official policy on hunting reads, in part: “Acceptable management approaches include both regulated periodic hunting and fishing when based on sufficient scientifically valid biological data and when consistent with all other management purposes and when necessary (for) total protection of particular species or populations.”
Is it just me, or does that leave a lot of wiggle room?
As an example of the Sierra Club’s dubious support of wildlife management policies, the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA)—a legitimate hunting advocacy group—announced this week that a Sierra Club taskforce has proposed adopting a formal anti-trapping policy for the organization at the national level. Under the proposal, the organization would oppose the use of conibear traps, leghold traps, snares and all similar body-gripping, restraining and kill traps regularly used by professional wildlife managers and licensed furbearer trappers and hunters.
Surprised? The USSA wasn’t.
“Despite claiming for years that it is a pro-hunting organization, the Sierra Club and its local chapters have opposed pro-hunting or trapping initiatives across the country,” read the USSA press release.
There are numerous examples of the Sierra Club and/or its chapters taking anti-hunting stances, like the New Jersey Chapter’s well-publicized opposition to black bear hunting in The Garden State.
Similarly, in 2010 the Sierra Club opposed a California Department of Fish and Game proposal to expand bear hunting and the use of hounds. The reason for the changes put forth by the state agency was simple: There are too many bears and more need to be taken by hunters.
But a Sierra Club press release claimed the rule changes would lead to increased bear poaching, among other things.
“We strongly oppose uncontrolled hounding of bears, a practice which results in gruesome injuries to bears and dogs,” stated the press release. “The use of dogs to hunt bears is the favored method of bear poachers.”
The message? Don’t be bamboozled by some national “conservation” organizations just because they claim to support hunting, angling, trapping and science-based wildlife management.
There’s a lot of truth to an old adage about trust that’s often uttered by political operatives, football coaches and cowboys: “Dance with one that brung ya’.”