Conservative Hunters and Anglers Signal Alarm Over Trump’s Public Lands Policy
Increased vigilance follows moves to shrink public lands and open them up to drilling and mining.
The Trump administration’s recent moves to roll back the boundaries of several national monuments and provide industry more access to public lands for drilling and mining may have unexpected political blowback.
There are more than 40 million American hunters and fishers, according to the National Wildlife Federation, and though these people don’t typically fit the profile of a left-leaning “treehugger,” they are “driven” by the conservation mission, according to Rogers Hoty, president of Ducks Unlimited. “Hunters and fishermen are true environmentalists—they enjoy using the resource, and believe in taking care of the resource,” Hoyt told Scientific American.
The pushback from conservation groups comes on the heels of President Trumps recent announcements that his administration planned to review numerous land and marine-based national monuments that had been established or expanded under Democratic presidents. In addition, the Salt Lake Tribune reported this week that the president plans to announce the shrinking of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase National Monuments as well as a move to open up these protected lands for industry use, including drilling and mining. The fate of many other national park lands is still up in the air.
Hunting and fishing enthusiasts are traditionally conservative, and that notably includes a focus on “conservation” of the country’s natural resources and wildlife. But if Trump and Republicans are seen as prioritizing private or corporate interests instead, they could run afoul of this normally reliable political demographic. “[They are] a huge voting bloc, and something that politicians and the administration need to pay attention to,” Land Tawney, leader of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, told Scientific American. Chris Wood, president and CEO of the fishing conservation group Trout Unlimited, agreed: “We will ensure the voices of sportsmen and sportswomen are heard throughout,” he says. “They ignore us at their political peril.”
This article was featured in the InsideHook newsletter. Sign up now.
Suggested for you