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Author Topic: How best to make your voice heard about what you want/expect for game management  (Read 370 times)

Offline 7mmfan

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I know this has been a hot topic lately, especially with a few of Washington's Mule Deer herds, and how they are managed. It seems that so many people on here complain about how things are done, and our herds are managed, but other than every 3 years when season setting is done, I don't know of other well known avenues for voicing our opinions on how our game should be managed. I just listened to a podcast, Wired to Hunt #194, and they have a PA wildlife biologist on. He states that for him, he doesn't get frustrated when the public makes laws/decisions on wildlife management based on emotion, if that is what the majority wants. However, if the goal of the majority is something else, and they have science to support it, and then laws/practices are passed based on emotion that don't support the goals, then he gets very frustrated.

I guess what I'm getting at is, do we as a group of sportsman, hunters and fishers, not do a good enough job of voicing our opinions to wildlife managers, but instead bicker among ourselves? Would we have better outcomes if we ALL went straight to the source and voiced our opinions to the decision makers? If so, what is the best route for us to contact those people, and voice our goals/opinions?

Lets have a discussion, and maybe some avenues for communication will be high lighted that weren't known by many of us.
I hunt, therefore I am.... I fish, therefore I lie.

Offline 7mmfan

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Also, here is a link to the podcast. What I'm referring to is at the end, starting at about the 1:34 mark.

http://wiredtohunt.com/2017/12/21/wired-to-hunt-podcast-194-duane-diefenbach-talks-aprs-deer-forest-study-monitoring-deer-movements-and-more/
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Offline Mtnwalker

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Have fun with this one, I tried a similar discussion a while back. I was pretty surprised by the amount of guys who had the "waste of time/ not gonna fix anything so why try" attitude.

Offline DOUBLELUNG

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Washington state agencies are most likely to respond to groups, the bigger the better.  There are two kinds of groups that get attention: general public - the bigger the better - and constituents/clients - the bigger the better. 

The general public gets attention because they choose elected officials and pass referendums.  The constituent/client group gets attention because they either pay the bills, are the public served, or both.

One hunter won't get any attention above the individual level.  100 hunters signing a petition will get a little more.  1000 hunters showing up at a Commission meeting will get considerable attention.  But, the guy who can get up and honestly say, "I'm the president of the Washington Hunter's Association, and I'm here in that capacity representing our x0,000 members" will absolutely have the attention of the Game division manager, Wildlife Program  AD, the Director and the Commission. 

This is why the archers get more attention than the modern hunters, even though they are a smaller group, they have a unified voice: the three main clubs reps get together, agree on what they all want, and go to the WDFW representing their x thousands of members.  There is no comparable group for modern or ML, representing  significant percentage of those users.

However, good luck organizing and activating hunters.  Herding cats is easier.
As long as we have the habitat, we can argue forever about who gets to kill what and when.  No habitat = no game.

Offline Colville

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There's no WE in hunting.  Hunters do not want the same things. At the simplest level we fight over access, season dates, season lengths, who gets antlerless opportunity etc.

From there, we don't agree as a group about dogs, methods, legal equipment, bait and it goes on.  All of that before you get to the fact that a certain contingent of each group wants to restrict everyone's opportunity in order to produce the likelihood of a "better" animal... defined to mean a year older and with more points on it's noggin.

The problem is that what's most important to people varies wildly and people only put money and effort in to movements that represent their passions, not their likes.

If you want to get 5 figure member group of WA hunters you have to go more vanilla.  Pro-habitat preservation, pro predator management, pro access, management for maximum harvest.  You have to walk away from QM, lottery systems, every other year hunting suggestions.  Those have a very vocal and passionate following, but they are a serious minority of hunters.  To get a big group you are going to have to take those things that are universally desirable across hunter groups.  It always breaks down right there.  Of course the other thing is to figure out how those interests are the same as big money interests like Forestry and Ag.  Lots of signatures is nice, but signatures and people who will write checks to the other guy's campaign if they won't listen, that's golden.

Oh, and of course someone to head the whole thing up without pay, at great cost of time and knowing you are likely rolling a stone uphill.  Other than that, should be easy.

Offline Special T

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Well said.

We lack organization, and focus on what we do agree on. Do you belong to a sporting organization? I do. Silver Arrow Bowmen and the Washington State Archery Association.  Tell them you want to collaborate with other groups on issues that effect you. Find agreement and move past hard feelings about XYZ Group and try and find way to. Developed talking points. We are making a sales pitch. They need to be well thought out, and repeated often. You may feel like you have made the same point repeatly. The person in front of you probably hasn't heard it before.

 If you don't belong to a Group Join one. If you have a passion join a group that embraces it. If you don't join a group that advocates for hunters rights in general.

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Offline Skyvalhunter

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Well it seems we have had many polls trying to get a majority of what direction sportsmen in Wa want to go. Then that goes to the side and some other hot topic is discussed. It appears people don't voice their opinion during the open comment period. They just decide its a waste of time and falls on deaf ears

Offline hunter399

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A lot of hunters and members sit on this forum as a group but lucky to get two members to agree on anything. :twocents:

One of the biggest problems is everbody thinks there the best wildlife manger,I have noticed a lot of hunters want to complain about the season we had but you try to suggest ways to improve ,lower harvest,or restrictions ,to change hunt for a long term goal of raising harvest,quality of hunt,hunters just don't wanna do it.Many hunters don't get the concept that there is not a quick fix for next year,wildlife management takes a few years of bad hunting seasons to conserve wildlife enough to have many surplus animals to raise the quality of hunt.

I Think it may be impossible to get a majority of hunters to agree on something with some of the topics I have seen on this forum ,we can all agree on a goal,but how we get to the goal goes in the 🚽.I do also wish for changes on wdfw for better mangement ,but with all of us hunters being so picky ,I think there doing the best to protect wildlife and give us a hunting season let's hope it can continue.
Two birds in the Bush is always better than one in the hand-that way you can always go to the Bush and hunt another day .conservation=Better hunting.
Wrote by hunter399

Offline Colville

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......to suggest ways to improve ,lower harvest,or restrictions ,to change hunt for a long term goal of raising harvest,quality of hunt,hunters just don't wanna do it.Many hunters don't get the concept that there is not a quick fix for next year,wildlife management takes a few years of bad hunting seasons to conserve wildlife enough to have many surplus animals to raise the quality of hunt.

This almost always falls apart over one issue.  There are people who want to have more success on decent sized mule deer. They are willing to hunt every other or every third year to achieve that end. Those people are a distinct minority of hunters.  The remainder of hunters don't believe "quality" of hunt exists if you are on your couch. These hunters put every year over all other hunting desires, and they are the vast majority.

Healthy herds can be managed for quality or opportunity, just not both.  Invariably, this decays into insults where the QM side says opportunity hunters are ruining the herds and max opportunity hunters accuse them of being elitist snobs willing to kill their family traditions over antler size.  Then one time events like winter kills are used as the evidence that a lottery is necessary....... and round and round we go. 

This is why a movement has to stick to habitat, predator control, access etc.  If it's going to get in the weeds on going permit only on mule deer or elk, well, it's not going to grow very fast. Focus on what everyone that hunts needs and there's a chance.  Or, go with a lot fewer people with a lot more money and you don't have to make nice with other hunters.

Offline Special T

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Well it seems we have had many polls trying to get a majority of what direction sportsmen in Wa want to go. Then that goes to the side and some other hot topic is discussed. It appears people don't voice their opinion during the open comment period. They just decide its a waste of time and falls on deaf ears
Let's be honest about a couple of things.  Random comments have no effect. They only have an effect when there is a clear trend, or wide agreement on an issue. What does that mean for us sportsmen? It means that a well prepared statement from a sporting organization means way more than  the same well prepared statement.
 Washington Waterfowlers Association has about 900 members.  If you belong to this fine organisation and come up with a great statement you speak for at least that many, and also help represent other Waterfowlers. IF the WWA meets with the local Pheasants Forever chapters to make a statement on there removal of Dikes for marginal salmon habitat the statement is further amplified.

If your going to take the time to craft a good letter take the time to coordinate it with your favorite  organization you belong to.

If you don't belong to an ORG join one! I can tell you that people with basic understanding of how social media works are in short supply in many local hunting organizations...

I know the shortage of folks and the power of social media through my constant Pimping of Siver Arrow Bowmen. Pardon the generalization, but many folks whom these fine sportsmen orgs are long in the tooth. They have vast amounts of knowledge to share, but just need help doing so.

@doublelung mentioned the effectiveness of archers being heard. It is because we are organized.  Of the 3 archery Orgs the WSAA has about 900 members. This may not sound like a lot. The association encompasses the supermajority of archery Clubs and Pro shops making our direct reach about 5k people.  Talk about a way to amplify an individual's efforts.

You don't have to don it all find one piece of the puzzle. Find an organization to work with...  I don't know of a sportsmen organization that won't accept some help. 2c

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