Washington Secrets columnist Paul Bedard, writing for yesterday’s Washington Examiner, noted that bowhunters are getting into the Second Amendment fight, which does not appear to be much of a “secret” nor should it surprise members of two popular Northwest hunting forums: Hunting-Washington and HuntFishNW.
Bedard, quoting Curt Wells, editor of Bowhunter magazine, suggested that bowhunters are looking at the Obama administration’s attack on gun rights is a “smokescreen” to mask an effort to curtail hunting.
Wells wrote in an editorial, “There is no doubt the anti-gun community is, in part, colonized by anti-hunting elements. They operate covertly because they want to the focus to be on guns. In their twisted minds, if guns go away, so goes hunting.”
“The anti-hunting community will use any means to stop hunting,” Wells observed, “and if emasculating the Second Amendment helps they’ll support it. They they’ll move on to bowhunting. All hunters stand in front of the same bull’s-eye, which is precisely why we must stand united.”
Some gun rights activists may sarcastically tell Wells, “Welcome to the party.” That would be something of a cheap shot since, as Bizpacreview notes, there is a fair crossover between bowhunters and those who use firearms – although Washington State’s game management scheme, called “Resource Allocation,” has endeavored to keep the user groups apart by mandating an either-or tag and season system for the past 25 years that forces hunters to pick one hunting method or another. One can hunt with a modern firearm (rifle or handgun), a muzzleloader or a bow, but one cannot hunt more than one species in a single season.
The Second Amendment is not just about guns any more than it is about duck or deer hunting. The folks at Knife Rights could explain that in detail. The Second Amendment protects the individual right to keep and bear arms, not just firearms. Wells apparently understands this as much as he realizes that the gun prohibition and anti-hunting lobbies have the same or similar interests: banning guns would prevent the overwhelming majority of hunters from pursuing game. That would make it easier for anti-hunters to go after bowhunters.
Some people consider bowhunters to be elitists, and alas, a few bowhunters think of themselves that way. But overall, archery hunters are – by choice of method – among the better woodsmen and women because they need to get close. They’re also widely known to be scrappy in a political fight, and while their battles to date have concentrated more on hunting, having more bowhunters on board in a battle to protect the Second Amendment could make a significant difference on a number of levels.
Nationally, bowhunters can use their political savvy to great advantage.
Here in Washington State, it might just be that bowhunters and firearms hunters can use this opportunity to join forces anew and rather than battle amongst one another, they can focus their efforts on the state to expand opportunity for all user groups, and not at the expense of one another. And in that process, they can send a signal to the Legislature that sportsmen and gun owners are united for common ideals.
That would give a lot more traction to pro-gun/pro-hunting rural Democrats and pro-gun Republicans in their efforts to hold the urban liberal anti-gun/anti-hunting contingent at bay, and force the governor to appoint pure hunters and anglers to the Fish & Wildlife Commission.
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Second Amendment Foundation
Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms
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