No matter who you voted for this past Tuesday, I am just glad its over. It seems like the Presidential campaign lasted forever. How glad are you that we dont have to hear this for awhile: “I am Mitt Romney/Barack Obama…and I approve this message.”
Well – I am afraid you wont have to wait too long to hear that again as you can bet that the 2016 Presidential contenders are already booking flights to Iowa to make speeches and kiss babies. But, thats the fun of politics, right?
In all the post election reactions from the high paid pundits – from MSNBC to FOX news – I really have not seen any credible analysis on what President Obama’s reelection means to those of us who like to hunt, fish, hike, camp etc. What did catch my attention was this headline:
This is the same black helicopter mindset that occured right after Obama’s first election in 2008. Record gun and ammunition sales. The fear that Obama will take away our guns. It didnt happen. And, it wont happen now.
Look at it this way: all of these record sales and the paranoia that drives them…will only enhance mine and your hunting and fishing opportunities. How you ask? The tax on these sales (thanks to the Pittman-Roberston Act) go to support fish and wildlife.
I have seen reports that hunters spend between $2.8 and $5.2 billion dollars a year on taxable merchandise. This generates between $177 and $324 million dollars a year in Pittman–Robertson money. I dont even want to think about how much money I spend yearly on gear, especially dry flies, leaders, tippet, and fly-line. Thats serious money for wildlife and may well be the best story of the election for hunters and anglers.
During the course of the campaign, conservation, wildlife or hunting/fishing concerns were never raised. The closest thing debated that would have an impact on wildlife and our sporting heritage was which candidate would do more to increase oil and natural gas production on our public lands. No mention of protection of wildlife habitat, providing access to rivers and streams to fish, or connecting kids with the outdoors so we can have future wildlife stewards. Yes, I know the main concern on many folks mind…its the economy stupid.
But still – conservation as an issue was essentially silent in this election. The lone exception was in a few Senate races. Case in point: Montana reelecting Senator John Tester. A true sportsmen that proudly ran on his record of fighting for and enhancing hunting and fishing opportunities.
How will hunters and anglers fair in Obama’s 2nd term?
While it remains to be seen what he will do – its safe to say that – besides the increased gun and ammunition sales that will benefit wildlife in the long run- given Obama’s track record the past four years, we could expect him to:
1) Continue to be a leader in protecting and restoring our Great Lakes. These investments in wetland restoration, protecting clean water, and fighting against invasive species will only enhance the economies of the Great Lakes;
2) Perhaps now after the election he will be more aggressive in support of a permanent separation of the Chicago Waterway System and Lake Michigan to stop the advance of the highly destructive Asian carp;
3) Continue his America’s Great Outdoor initiative, which is designed to build future conservation stewards and develop a conservation ethic to protect our outdoor heritage; and
4) Continue his commitments in substantial investments to protect and restore the lands and waters that shape America’s identity and fuel our economy.
The question on my mind is will Obama use his next four years to build upon his efforts to protect the programs designed to enhance our outdoor experience? Lets hope he doubles down and gets to work.
I am a Sportsman…and I approve this message