The recent posting from our Editor William Schwarz rang true on so many counts. The election is over and the name calling needs to stop. As all the readers of ODU know by now, I am a hunter and angler. I am a gun owner and I believe in the 2nd Amendment. I also did not vote for Donald Trump, nor do I believe in what he stands for. Be that as it may, he is our President and that is something we need to live with.
I personally don’t believe political bull has any place in this or any other outdoor publication unless it has a direct effect on those things that we, as outdoorspeople, have a stake in. I know plenty of so called “bleeding heart liberals” that hunt, fish and bear arms. Some people may even call me one of them. That’s fine. If you mind is so narrow and you are so insecure that you feel the need to call me names, then that is your problem, not mine. My job as an outdoor writer is to share stories that entertain and even perhaps even provide useful information to those of you who read my articles and blogs and that is what I intend to do.
One issue that has come across my desk is the selling of our Federal Land. As Americans we all need to watch our elected officials and hold them accountable for their actions. This being one such case.
The last I heard our Federal Land belonged to all of us. I know plenty of people, myself included, who use this land for hunting and fishing. Then there are those who raft, hike, camp, watch wildlife and a host of other things. This land in question includes land managed by the BLM, USFWS, NPS, NFS and others. If Congress has its way all of these lands are going to be up on the chopping block for gas and oil exploration, logging, mining and just about anything else to include private ownership. There are already thousands, if not millions, of acres of Federal Land that we can’t use due to outdated leases to cattle ranches and mining operations. There are many ranches in the Western states who have 99 year leases with the Federal Government allowing them to grace their cattle on Federal Land for pennies on the dollar. That is land that you and I can’t access to hunt and fish. Have you seen the price of beef lately? This is our land yet we have no access to it. I’d love to be able to hunt and fish on this land; land that belongs to me as an American citizen and one who has given 12 years of my life to defend. Can Donald Trump or most of the members of Congress say that? I know the last thing I want is to be on an elk hunt or a trout fishing trop and have to deal with a logging or mining operation. If you belong to RMEF, TU, DU and the host of t=other organizations who have worked hard on the behalf of outdoorspeople and the environment, then I would think that this is of great concern.
There are always three sides to every story; your side, my side and the truth. We as outdoorspeople, and more importantly, as Americans, need to be aware of what our elected officials are doing. They are supposed to work for all of us, not just a selected few. Whose pockets are they lining? Presidents Teddy Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan saw a need to protect land, air and water for all of us to enjoy. Land to be kept aside for hunting, fishing and other outdoor pursuits. Look into this issue and make your voice heard. Being a hunter or angler is more than the taking of game or fish. It is more than fighting for gun rights, though these are part of it. Being a hunter or angler means being a steward of the environment and keeping our heritage alive. Do your homework and come to your own conclusions. The decisions made in Washington will affect all of us. No matter who you are or on what side of the political fence you sit on.
By Dana Benner