My sister recently hosted a baby shower for my wife and I at my grandmother’s house. Five of my aunts were in attendance, and all were drilling me with questions about everything from the baby to my job.
Having worked for various organizations in the outdoor industry, they often need to be reminded of the name of my current employer and what I actually do. I explained to them that the Sportsmen’s Alliance is a national organization with a sole purpose of protecting and advancing hunting, fishing and trapping rights. How we go about doing that is a bit more of an in-depth conversation, so that’s when I turned to our recent efforts and victory on the Maine bear hunting issue and Question 1 to illustrate our work.
Of course, I couldn’t get but a few sentences out before mentioning the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), a Washington D.C.-based special interest group that funded and ran a campaign in support of a ballot initiative that would have basically eliminated bear hunting in the state. All five of my aunts, especially the two that are married to hunters, were astonished that the HSUS would have any sort of hand in attacking sportsmen’s rights.
“I thought HSUS was associated with all the local animal shelters?” questioned one of my aunts. “I’ve donated to them in the past based on the idea that they were helping abandoned or stray pets.”
HSUS does an excellent job at fooling people with good intentions, such as my aunts, into giving up their hard-earned dollar to fund multi-million dollar pension plans, excessive salaries and a “fundraising machine” that ate up 41 percent of the $120 million HSUS spent in 2012.
Another staggering figure from HSUS’s 2012 tax return is President and CEO Wayne Pacelle’s $347,675 salary. That’s almost on par with the $400,000 that our current president makes.
While conveying all this information to my shell-shocked aunts, I was also quick to inform them of the donor advisory that a leading charity evaluator slapped HSUS with earlier this year.
All this new found knowledge had my aunts scrambling for their tablets to confirm our conversation. The few that had donated felt foolish to have not done their research beforehand, and victimized by HSUS’s misleading propaganda.
But not all the blame should fall upon the uninformed donors and the scheming staff at HSUS. Some should be attributed to the trappers, hunters and fishermen who also remain ignorant to HSUS and their anti-hunting agenda.
Sportsmen are responsible for knowing about those attacking our outdoor heritage. In turn, educating others about these groups and their tactics is key to protecting hunting, fishing and trapping opportunities for generations to come.