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John McCain, Barack Obama on outdoors issues -- again

Hunting1wilhelm1

The presidential election is two weeks away and I’m flipping through yet another outdoors magazine that touts John McCain’s and Barack Obama’s views on such issues as gun control, fisheries and public land access.

There are no revelations in the November issue of Outdoor Life.

John McCain is still against gun control and Obama still supports the Second Amendment but favors a ban on assault weapons and cinching a gun show loophole that allows trading of weapons between private individuals in states where this practice is currently legal.

Both candidates claim to be conservationists who want to protect fisheries and preserve angler opportunities. McCain, however, appears to be more of a proponent of hunters and anglers at a time when environmentalists are increasingly pressing for wilderness preservation versus public access.

“I have long supported multiple uses for public lands that ensure they are available for this and future generations to hunt, fish and explore,” he is quoted as saying.

Obama tends to include a disclaimer whenever he discusses access. And Outdoor Life, which claims to be objective, countered McCain’s statement with this one from Obama:

“We need to make sure that we’re good stewards of the land. It means that we are maintaining access to public lands but are also making sure that we are doing it in a responsible way.”

Certainly, those who hunt, fish and use off-road vehicles are disturbed by trends toward wilderness preservation. Shutting sportsmen and other user groups out does not always seem justified, and in some cases it seems un-American.

A recent survey commissioned by the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation found that hunters and fishermen view loss of habitat and public access as the largest threats to their pastimes. They'd like Congress to prioritize federal lands for habitat available to all.

There are an estimated 40 million hunters of voting age in the Unites States, so their interests should not be taken lightly by the candidates.

In fact, McCain has launched a website, on which he proclaims to be an angler who “knows the difference between spinning gear and a fly rod.”

OK, but in a recent interview with Field & Stream magazine he confessed that his angling experience was restricted largely to a pond on his property in northern Arizona.

He’s not much more of a sportsman than Obama, who, once upon a time, went spearfishing while growing up in Hawaii.

It’s too bad both aren’t more in tune with the great outdoors, because it’s always better to have a boss who truly understands.

It’s also too bad this country is faced with much more pressing issues, which might diminish this debate somewhat. But Outposts is interested in what you think of the candidates and their positions. Please be civil.

-- Pete Thomas

Photo by George Wilhelm / Los Angeles Times

 
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Comments (37)

McCain says he knows the difference between "spinning gear and a fly rod" which would lead one to believe he is a fisherman. However he only fishes at a pond on his ranch. How many Joe the Plumbers have their own private pond to fish in? McCain is so out of touch with middle class America yet he tries to portray that he is one of us. He is trying to buy votes by pretending to be a friend to sportsmen. I have been a fisherman for almost 60 years and McCain has never done anything for fishing habitat that I am aware of.

Anyone in tune with the great outdoors and familiar with public land management issues in the past few decades knows that "multiple uses" is code for subsidizing extractive industries such as clear cutting and strip mining on public land. This article perpetuates a false dichotomy between designating land for Wilderness preservation and hunting and fishing: hunting and fishing are still permitted on Wilderness. What is prohibited is motorized wreckreation such as dirt bikes, ATVs, and snowmobiles. To suggest that these noisy, destructive vehicles are necessary for real hunters and anglers does a disservice to true outdoorsmen.

Free Bubble Up and Rainbow Stew will beat the Second Amendment every time.

Who gives a damn?

I am a lifelong Democrat who enjoys shooting (I own several guns but do not hunt). I'm about the farthest thing from a slavering gun-nut you're likely to meet, but frankly I worry that Obama, as President, would be influenced or coerced by special interests into a strict gun-control stance that would impact my ability to enjoy my hobby. I can only hope that the courts' recent strong interpretations of the Second Amendment will prevail over the Brady Campaigns of the world. I just wish there was someone in Washington sticking up for responsible gun owners like me who are not single-issue voters.

I grew up in a family of ethical hunters. That meant that those of us who hunted, both men and women, owned a rifle and/or pistol and employed it in the task at hand without the obsessive need to tie onerous rights issues to things like the 2nd Amendment. Our rifles didn't have fancy scopes. We learned to put feet on the ground and track the game we were after where ever in the wild this led. We actually were taught to see the game we targeted with naked eyes unamplified by fancy technologies. Sometimes we returned from a week in the natural world without game meat. But our time in the wild could never be viewed as a failure. We did not need to score a "kill" to feel successful. We all loved the natural world and protected it vigorously. We didn't "hunt" from the cabs or beds of our pickups. We didn't need the excesses of an AK47 or other "assault" weapons to ice deer, or ducks, or pheasants, or antelope. We field dressed and ate what we killed. We hauled our trash (including cigarette butts, beer cans, and other detritus) out and never left it behind for others to endure. We didn't need to hunt wolves to keep the populations of moose at stressed levels so we could shoot them from our back porch. I came from a family of ethical hunters.

Thanks for the inquiry and conversation. I am supporting Obama and very interested and up to date on his stand for the economy and security and energy.

I am less clear of his stand for the outdoors. I am a strong conservationist and former hunter. I no longer hunt myself, but support hunting as a pastime and sport. I am really trusting Obama's general thoughtfulness and thorough approach to the issues and will extend that trust to the outdoors with a good dose of participation and personal oversight as the issues evolve in (assuming) his presidency.

Thanks for the inquiry and conversation. I am supporting Obama and very interested and up to date on his stand for the economy and security and energy.

I am less clear of his stand for the outdoors. I am a strong conservationist and former hunter. I no longer hunt myself, but support hunting as a pastime and sport. I am really trusting Obama's general thoughtfulness and thorough approach to the issues and will extend that trust to the outdoors with a good dose of participation and personal oversight as the issues evolve in (assuming) his presidency.

The positions between the two candidates on environmental preservation couldn't be more different.

Outdoorsmen and Environmentalists both agree that preservation of our environment starts from a foundation of oversight of use of public lands as they are leased to big business. The more business is able to run away from its responsibility to be a good steward of the land, the worse it is for hunters and fishers. Stewardship by business requires oversight by the government - nothing else will keep our forests, our wetlands, our prairies safe.

McCain is a longtime proponent of big business with an emphasis on the removal of oversight. Removing oversight is a fine objective where it is wasteful or onerous for no purpose - it is flat irresponsible when it puts the land at jeopardy.

Obama is the most likely candidate to place a head of the Department of the Interior who will insist on business being a good steward of the public lands they use.

Conservatives and progressives both want to protect our land - the answer in this election from both points of view is someone who won't remove oversight merely for the soundbite; someone who will keep America's streams and forests clean; and, someone who with the vision to save the outdoors places for our children.

That someone is Barak Obama.

Coming from a family that thrives on the outdoors, it’s a serious issue addressed at family gatherings. Its not only tradition, but a way of life. I think what makes this difficult is that though I feel land should be open to the public, I am watching the destruction of it year after year. And so, though I love to hunt and fish, I am aiding an organization to preserve parts of the land that I live in here in Utah.

I have watched for years as sportsmen align themselves with Republican candidates who brandish guns (figuratively speaking) to distract people from their real allegiance: to extractive industries (logging, mining, etc.) whose interests are, generally speaking, inimical to anyone who cares about the outdoors.

It's great if a candidate enjoys rafting down the Grand Canyon, like McCain, or has gone surfing, like Obama. But what really matters is whether they will stand up to the industries who whine and bleat about even the most sensible forms of regulation.

I give McCain credit for stepping up on global warming, but here in Arizona, I have also seen him toe the party line with John Kyl and energetically support a Republican giveaway of timber on the national forests, which certainly would have deleterious effects on elk hunters, etc.. I like McCain, and I respect him for his service to the country, but his support for outdoor rights has been inconsistent and often contradictory.

Sportsmen need to engage in a bit of realpolitik. They should stop voting for the candidate they'd feel comfortable drinking a beer with, and instead look at who is going to do them the most good.

Susan

my family loves to hunt and ride atv's and dirt bikes. there is getting to be less and less places to do these things. i do not trust Obama on any of these things. if he could he would closed it all down.Obama wants the power to tell everyone what they can do.
if he doesn't like it he will shut it down.

 

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