Hunters missed chance to send state a message

As the 2013 big game season ends, I wonder how many hunters boycotted it. I did. I didn’t buy the licenses, the ammo, another game camera or anything else.

The big game hunters of New York State are the only successful and dependable tool Albany has to manage the deer and bear populations. The National Rifle Association, the Shooters Committee on Political Education and the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association are the loudest voices in the face of the SAFE Act. Yet they didn’t call for a boycott of our big game season. Why?

The passing of the SAFE Act created a windfall of profits for firearm and ammunition manufacturers and retailers. It increased memberships in every Second Amendment rights organization nationally and statewide. SCOPE membership is said to have doubled.

The 637,176 big game licenses sold in 2011 generated $30.2 million! That is just the “big game” segment of sales. The solidarity of small game hunters, trappers and fishermen standing together in total non-participation of this current season would have sent a shockwave of opposition to Albany – license revenue, sales tax revenue, retailers screaming bloody murder.

Total deer take for 2012 was 242,957, based on a statewide hunter reporting rate of 44.3 percent. Think about a quarter million deer still walking around the state now. And 100,000 or more fawns next spring. The statewide 2012 black bear harvest was 1,337 animals.

That’s a protest, raising awareness in non-hunters and the anti-gun public. Clear-thinking New Yorkers know there are fat cats at the top of most organizations. The NRA has them; SCOPE and NYSRPA are growing them, too. The loudest voices really don’t want to solve the problem. It’s a simple dog-and-pony show to grow membership, increasing their revenue.

Brian George Donnelly