Should the 3% of Arizona that Hunts Control 100% of the Wildlife?

A Huge Crowd Wolf Watching in Yellowstone

Most Americans don’t realize that their wildlife is already effectively managed for and by hunters. Arizona is voting on formally giving the 5% of its citizens who hunt priority over the 31% who prefer just to watch wildlife. The measure is also dumb financially. Wildlife watchers spend $789 million in Arizona each year, while hunters only spend $322 million.

Keep reading Should the 3% of Arizona that Hunts Control 100% of the Wildlife?


Feds Overlook Wildlife Watchers Again in New Conservation Panel


Sarah Palin – Caribou Hunt,courtesy  Grizzly Bay by way of Kinship Circle.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar created a new panel for citizens to tell the federal government what to do about conservation and wildlife. But, instead of having the Wildlife Hunting and Heritage Council include the growing portion of Americans who just want to watch animals, not gun them down, he geared it to the dwindling minority of hunters.

More Americans have fun watching wildlife than shooting it (71 million wildlife watchers versus 12.5 million hunters), according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Hunters already have advocates in the NRA. State wildlife a encourage hunting. The Pittman Robertson Act makes sure of that. As any NRA member can tell you, there’s a 10-11% tax on guns that supports wildlife and conservation. That tax makes the agency beholden to hunters. Seven states have commissions that specifically require hunters or anglers, the HSUS says.

What NRA members won’t tell you is that the tax is on all guns, not just those used in hunting. The NRA tells members that the tax is on “sporting arms” Which weapons does the NRA consider sporting? Pretty much all of them. (I think it’s their effort to get hunters–by far the most respectable and respectful gun contingent–in on the government-fearing bandwagon.) The tax on pistols and revolvers is 10%. What percent of handguns do you suppose are used for hunting? Very few. But the portion of the gun market that buys for self protection, crime or militia purposes doesn’t have a strong lobby. Hunters

Keep reading Feds Overlook Wildlife Watchers Again in New Conservation Panel

Lonely Planet: A Year of Watching Wildlife (in what passes for easy ways)

Lonely Planet’s new A Year of Watching Wildlife: A Guide to the World’s Best Animal Encounters is one of those books any animal tourist is going to want. Gorgeous glossy photos show you schools of stingrays swimming from underneath, howler monkeys mid-howl, puffins with icicles hanging from their bright beaks.

The conceit of the book is that it’s a calendar. Lonely Planet gives you animals to see in every week of the year and a semi-plausible reason why they picked that week. Lots of the rationales are compelling, reasons like mating or baby season. But the calendar conceit gets a bit worn for all those animals that don’t really have a peak week to watch. We’re reminded how random travel advice can be with the push “You should visit [Andean condors in Peru] in April for good weather and to avoid the tourist season.” True enough, but there are big hunks of the year that applies to. Also, the book tells you to try to see them at Machu Picchu, acknowledging that you’re far more likely to see them at a canyon hundreds of miles away, but that “pales in comparison with the experience of seeing one of these ponderous birds towering over the ancient Inca city.” Or it would if you actually saw one there.

The book is a nice t’s a nice fantasy wish list, compiled as if you’ve only got a year to live, unlimited funds and all you want to do is see animals.

Keep reading Lonely Planet: A Year of Watching Wildlife (in what passes for easy ways)