If you are a Sportsman, or Sportswoman, this is our cherished time of the year. Hunting seasons are going full bore and fall fishing is red hot. Our free time is consumed with antlers, feathers, and fins. However, this is also the time of year that can affect our passion and the future of our sport for generations to come.
Tuesday, November 3rd is Election Day. Here in Ky we have a very contested Governor’s Race, along with numerous state and local offices. On the National Level, we don’t have as much on the line here in KY, but primary’s are heating up for 2016. All you have to do is turn on the radio or television, or just ride down the road, to be inundated with ads proclaiming each person’s special qualities to serve, or too sadly, why the other guy is not fit to serve.
Note that the League is a 501 (c)3 corporation and thus we cannot endorse any political party or candidate. We can however lobby for issues or bills when the legislature is in session. However, the one thing we can do is show up at the voting booth and educate ourselves as to each candidate and their position on the items we hold dear. Take time and research the candidates and see where they stand on 2nd Amendment rights, hunting and fishing issues, land conservation, access to public hunting, and a myriad of other issues that have a direct impact on our sport.
By education, I don’t mean listening to their ads. Those ads are professionally prepared to tell you what you want to hear, not necessarily what they, in fact, perform. If they are an incumbent, research their voting record. Google up articles and speeches they have provided and get a feel for their actual heading. On the larger races such as Governor, I will also look up the donor lists for each candidate and see if groups like HSUS , PETA, Sierra Club, etc are major donors. That should be an immediate red flag to any sportsman. If they are new to politics, just send them an email or post on their Facebook Page, and ask them a question and see if you get a response.
We as sportsmen are our own worst enemy. Hunter apathy has been the biggest reason for losses we have incurred in various portions of the country. We seem to only respond when a group comes after something that we cherish, such as HSUS in Maine last year, and by then we are way behind. We need to be proactive and the best way to do that is at the ballot box and getting those folks in office whom we know support our lifestyle. If you are in a position to contribute to a candidate that supports our outdoors heritage, then by all means, send them a check, but be sure you let them know WHY you sent a check. If they get a check, they have no idea whether you are a sportsman, or a supporter of some other cause. We have to be vocal and we have to let them know that we are here in force, and at the ballot box in force.
Statistics have shown that less than 10% of the population hunt and fish. It also shows that less than 10% are adamantly opposed to hunting and fishing. It is the other 80% that we have to convince. Talk to your friends and family members who don’t hunt or fish, and encourage them to support your candidates of choice.
Showing up to vote on Tuesday, November 3rd is more important than showing up at your deer stand or duck blind on opening day, especially if you want to continue to enjoy those opening days. You owe it to the generations before you who fought for your rights, and you owe it to our future generations as well.
Ed Morris, LKS President, 2015-16