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Why I Oppose Transferring Federal Public Lands

by Brad 0 Comments
I enjoyed a public land elk hunt on National Forest in 2012

I enjoyed a public land elk hunt on National Forest in 2012

I am dedicated to habitat for all wildlife and the future of our hunting heritage. As such I cannot support the transfer of national public lands to the states. The issue is a complicated one, with lots of misinformation.

The issue of land transfer was pushed into the national spotlight during the Malheur wildlife refuge standoff in Oregon. However, this is a battle, which has been going on for decades. At times the debates intensify and the threat of land transfers becomes more of a threat, now is one of those times.

Currently there is a small but vocal group of elected officials at the local, state, and national levels calling for the transfer of lands. One of the most out spoken land transfer advocates in the United States Senate is former Republican Presidential Candidate Senator Ted Cruz

Advocates for the transfer of national public lands will point out the federal government does a poor job of managing public lands, and ads bureaucratic layers to management decisions. They tout how the states and local governments would be more responsive to the needs of the citizens than policy makers hundreds or thousands of mile away. Without any additional research this seems to be a reasonable belief.

However, start scratching beneath the surface and you will soon realize transferring public lands to the states could have dire consequences. Right off the bat there is a major difference between how land is managed by the federal government and states. Federal lands are managed for multiple uses. What this means is before a management decision is made policy makers need to consider how the decision will affect ranchers, loggers, energy and mineral extraction, and recreational use including hunting. In contrast several states have laws requiring management decisions be made in order to maximize profit from the land while not taking other factors into consideration.

Another concern to consider is historically when the federal government has transferred large amounts of land to state or local control the land is often either sold to private interest or closed to public access. The last concern I will point out is the states simply do not have the financial resources to manage large tracts of federal lands. Imagine how a state’s budget would be affected by paying for wildfire suppression during a particularly bad fire season.

Often the lawmakers in Washington who are proponents of transferring federal lands on the notion the US Forest Service and BLM cannot adequately manage the lands are the same politicians who vote to not properly fund these agencies. Consider that for a moment. If I want the public to support the idea of transferring land I have to show a reason why it is a good idea. I want to sell the public on the idea federal agencies are doing poor job managing the lands. How do I accomplish this? By financially starving the very agencies tasked with managing those lands making it impossible for them to properly manage the land.

The other thing to consider is where is the money coming from. The majority if not all of the politicians at the federal level who advocate transferring lands receive large donations from energy lobbyist and companies. For example Senator Cruz shows Wapiti Energy donated $43,150 to his campaign fund.* Wapiti Energy is an onshore drilling company concentrating its efforts in the Rocky Mountain Region, an area with huge amounts of public land.

One last thing I would like to point out is lobbyist have been spending money to harm the reputation of several well known conservation organizations in an attempt to paint them as far left liberal organizations. If you come across this type of information I ask you to critically examine the information and do your own research. The organizations targeted are the most vocal organizations against a federal land transfer. If you follow the money from one website that attacks these conservation organizations it will lead you back to a Washington lobbyist who represents the energy industry. Also look at the history of the conservation organization being attacked and ask yourself, do they have a record of standing up for sportsmen and habitat?

In closing I am not advocating Federal Land Management is prefect. It certainly can be improved and we should consider many different ideas on how to solve those problems. However, transferring federal lands to state and local control as proposed is not the answer. Also I am not saying politicians who support land transfer are inherently bad. I dislike their stance on the issue; I do not dislike the person. Disagreeing on issues and working together to solve issues is what makes America great.

I would urge you to contact your elected officials and let them know you oppose the transfer of public lands and demand they adequately funds the agencies with the responsibility of managing our federal public lands.

I enjoyed a public land elk hunt on National Forest in 2012

I enjoyed a public land elk hunt on National Forest in 2012

I enjoyed a public land elk hunt on National Forest in 2012

I enjoyed a public land elk hunt on National Forest in 2012

 

* The organizations themselves did not donaterather the money came from the organizations’ PACs, their individual members or employees or owners, and those individuals’ immediate families. Organization totals include subsidiaries and affiliates.

LaCrosse AeroHead Boots

by Brad 0 Comments

LaCrosse Boots

This is not going to be your typical product review where I give you manufacturing specifications and include other boring crap no on cares about. Do you care about a revolutionary manufacturing process? Me either, I just want my boots to be warm, dry, and comfortable. This review is based on personal experience and not internet research.

To say the LaCrosse AeroHead boots are great would be a huge understatement. I have used these boots for the last two years and absolutely love them! I have the 7 mm version of these boots, which I find to be perfect for a multitude of applications during a typical Wisconsin winter. The boots are knee high, made out of Neoprene, are waterproof, and scent free.

I start wearing my LaCrosse boots during the whitetail rut starting around early November and wear them through out the entire winter. The boots have done a great job keeping my feet warm on all day sits with the temps running 25 to 40 degrees, without over heating. The boots also do a great job on later season whitetail hunts as well. I remember missing a Packer game a few years ago for a deer hunt on a cold snowy December day with a high of 9 degrees. My feet did not get cold once during the 3 hour sit. I shot a deer with my muzzleloader, but that story is for another time.

What I really appreciate about these boots is how lightweight and comfortable they are to walk in compared to other knee-high boots. A few weeks ago I went on a pheasant hunt in 0 degree weather and wore them for 4 hours of hunting. My feet were warm and dry, but just as important I did not become overly fatigued. I was also able to get a rooster no one else had a chance at. The weather had only recently turned cold causing us to break through the ice on the marsh. I was the only one wearing knee high boots and was able to walk across the small water filled ditch to put myself in a position for a shot.

I have used my AreoHead boots for checking traps, small game hunting, snowshoeing, snow blowing, and playing with the kids outside. I have other pairs of quality boots, however when push comes to shove I usually grab these. In addition to all of the other qualities of the boots they appeal to my lazy side where I can quickly slide them on and off.

On the Internet the price of the 7mm LaCrosse AeroHeads range from $125 to $170. If my memory serves me correct I paid $139 including shipping. I think it is important to note I am not affiliated in anyway with LaCrosse Boots nor do I receive any compensation from them.

What have you done for conservation in 2015?

by Brad 0 Comments

As the year comes to a close it is a natural time to take stock of the prior year. The question I want to pose is simple. Have you helped protect our way of life by being politically involved and supporting conservation? If the answer is no you’re not alone. As a general rule the personality traits, which lead us to enjoy outdoor pursuits, are the same traits which cause us to have a disdain for politics. However, if we fail to support conservation efforts and let our elected officials know we will not stand by idly as our privileges to hunt, fish, and trap are chipped away our way of life will disappear.

I challenge every single outdoorsmen to become more engaged in 2016. Follow the issues and contact politicians to let them know you support conservation. Become involved in one of the many conservation organizations such as Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, or The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. Donate money to public land acquisitions. It doesn’t take a lot of individual money to make a substantial impact. Imagine if every adult hunter donated $10 in 2016 for public land purchases. As a nation we would have one hundred thirty million additional dollars to protect wildlife habitat.

Anti-hunters are definitely in the minority, but they pose a significant threat to our way of life. As a collective group anti-hunters / animal rights activists are vocal, organized, and politically active. They are working every single day to make sure you and I loose our ability to hunt, fish, and trap. If it was up to them you would never experience the beauty and excitement of flushing a rooster Pheasant, the anticipation of walking the trap line would be a thing of the past, and never again would you relive the memories of your hunt while you prepared your favorite venison recipe in your kitchen.

Let’s make 2016 the year of the outdoorsman! I am not asking you to quit your job to become a full-time activist. But, let’s all do a little more this next year for conservation and accomplish great things.