It’s 2020, and with the advent of disaster after disaster, it is easy for sportsmen to forget that during the height of the fall hunting season, we will once again be called upon to cast our votes in the upcoming election on November 3rd.
This piece is seeking to illustrate the stances, coalitions, and track records behind each camp’s issues as they relate to hunters and outdoorsmen.
Examining The Sportsmen For Trump Coalition, Track Record And Platform
The Donald Trump for President campaign launched their “Sportsmen For Trump” campaign coalition on August 13 with an event at the Lehigh Valley Sporting Clays in Coplay, PA with Donald Trump Jr. (himself an avid hunter) and Kimberly Guilfoyle.
“From his steadfast support of the Second Amendment to his recent signing of the Great American Outdoors Act, it is clear President Trump stands proudly with sportsmen across the nation,” said Donald Trump Jr. “While President Trump ensures that Americans can enjoy the God-given land our nation is blessed with, Joe Biden, an out-of-touch Washington elitist, wants to take away our guns and curtail our way of life.”
“President Trump’s unprecedented support of our Federal parks enjoyed by America’s families is just one of the many reasons sportsmen across the nation will rally around him this November,” said Kimberly Guilfoyle, National Chair for Trump Victory Finance Committee. “Unlike Joe Biden’s nearly fifty years of empty words, President Trump has delivered on his promise to protect and preserve America’s beautiful lands like our Everglades and Great Lakes.”
As for track records, aside from the fact that Donald Trump’s own sons are avid outdoorsmen and hunters famous (and sometimes unfairly infamous) for their outdoor exploits, Donald Trump’s signing of the Great American Outdoors Act, which permanently funded the Land and Water Conservation Fund, providing $900 million a year in guaranteed funding and an additional nearly $10 billion for long-delayed maintenance projects, repairs, and upgrades for national parks. In addition, the current administration last year designated 1.4 million new acres of public land as new wilderness and expanded more than 850 hunting and fishing opportunities across 2.3 million public acres, touted as the largest historic expansion of its kind. This totals over 4 million acres of expanded access for sportsmen in America.
The coalition itself consists of several big names in the outdoor space and is co-chaired by Dan Adams, Bill Bachenberg, Peter L. Horn, Dan Genter, Mike Ingram, and Bubba Saulsbury with two dozen other hunting personalities on the advisory board.
Examining The Sportsmen For Biden Coalition, Track Record And Platform
The Sportsmen For Biden launched August 30, 2020, with an ongoing list of what it deems as “consistent Trump administration attacks against our public lands, waters, and wildlife.” Among the list of grievances are:
- Cuts to National Park Service budget and the EPA of 17% and 26% each.
- “Catering to the Demands of the Elite, Ignoring the Needs of Regular Sportsmen and Sportswomen”
- Trump’s Endangered Species Act (ESA) changes, which have been covered extensively by outdoor media outlets
- The spread of Chronic Wasting Disease in deer herds around the nation.
The Biden and Harris track records, meanwhile, are spotted. Although Kamala Harris has expressed direct support in the past for restricting access to meat for Americans during a CNN town hall on the climate crisis, she did temper that assertion with a quip about how she “loves cheeseburgers from time to time.” Joe Biden meanwhile has outright supported the CECIL Act, which would ban the import of hunting trophies on a national level, modeled after the African Species Protection Act of California. Joe Biden, as a Senator, has also voted for legislation to bar taxpayer funding used to administer or promote the use of popular and scientifically-sound steel-jawed leghold traps, according to the Humane Society Legislative Fund’s track record on his so-called “humane record,” which describes his record as “a long and positive legacy on our concerns”.
In a world where the COVID crisis has ravaged state budgets, money-hungry budget-makers will be looking high and low for opportunities to “raise revenue” (read: hike taxes and fees) on citizens. It is up to sportsmen to remain vigilant and involved in these discussions to ensure the future of our sports.
Pricing increasingly unemployed and cash-strapped citizens from their lone outlet – escaping to the outdoors – in this time of crisis is more than just bad public policy, it is just wrong.