Your assistance is needed to attend & show your support to Mark Blazis ” SUPPORT SUNDAY BOWHUNTING” seminar at the Mass Audubon Broadmeadow Santuary, 414 Massasoit Rd., Worcester MA at 7 pm on Saturday May 5th.
Link for information & registering: http://www.massaudubon.org/catalog/listing.php?program_code=886-BM12SP1. Mass Audubon is asking everyone to pre-register if you plan to attend. There is a small fee. Mark Blazis article from OUTDOORS, Tues, May 1, 2012 is below.
I hope that all my fellow Sportsmen & Woman will come see this informational program & assist in our quest to inform the public of the Sunday Bow Hunting Bill HB 3946.
To contact your rep or senator, go to web site: www.mass.gov or www.usa.gov. Choose link for reps or senator and follow promps to phone #s or e-mails.
Mark Blazis Tuesday May 1, 2012 OUTDOORS: Bow Hunting On Sundays
Say No to Sunday Hunting! In its recent Action Alert trying to influence legislation, Mass Audubon came out aggressively opposing state Rep. Anne Gobi’s HB3946, which would permit Sunday bow hunting. Local District 11 State Rep. Matthew Beaton enthusiastically supports Gobi’s bill. Should we?
With questionable reasoning, Mass Audubon has gone far out of its way to take a stand much at odds with neighboring states like Rhode Island, New York, New Hampshire, and Vermont which have long benefited from the policy they oppose. As the bill would not impact its sanctuaries in any way, many wonder who motivated their political attack.
Mass Audubon claims they are not opposed to hunting as a scientific management tool. They have a strange way of showing that conviction. When they have an opportunity to implement scientific management or demonstrate their sincerity and educate their following about the critically important benefits of hunting for wildlife and conservation, they perennially fail to act, and now even take the offensive.
Mass Audubon’s inflammatory outburst inaccurately implying that bow hunters are in some way a danger to the public is reminiscent of the distorted, ill-informed political position they regretfully took against trappers in 1996 – and another strategic faux pas certain to blemish their current leadership and further alienate sportsmen, some of whom were beginning to believe that Mass Audubon really wanted to work reasonably with them.
There may be arguments against Sunday bow hunting – but not the peace, quiet, and safety ones, which Mass Audubon suggests. Dating back to Colonial times, our no-hunting-on-Sundays legislation – like other former blue laws – is connected to religion. Churches, already hurting from plummeting attendance, would stand to lose even more parishioners to Sunday hunting. Deer season widows who perennially suffer the absence of their mates in autumn would be neglected even more.
Most bow hunters with 5-day workweeks have only weekend chances to hunt. Giving them Sundays would double their meager recreational opportunities, allowing them to pursue their sport an additional 6 days during bow season. But with their addition, the numerous hunters who complained of not enough deer in their woods last season would discouragingly find numbers and opportunities lowered even further. In zones where deer have already been reduced to goal numbers, the extra day of pressure could prove overkill.
The retired, laid-off, and self-employed who can hunt any day of the week might dislike Sunday bow hunting, as well. They frequently find themselves self-indulgently alone in the woods during the week. Having to share the forests on Sundays with additional bow hunters would add competition and more scent to the woods, make deer more wary, and hunting more difficult.
But in restricted state parks and pockets of struggling communities especially east of rte. 495 and Nantucket, where over-abundant deer cause intolerable levels of Lyme disease, habitat destruction, and collisions, expanded opportunities to bow hunt on Sundays could significantly help mitigate those problems. Is it unreasonable to give our Fish & Wildlife’s director the prerogative to employ an extra day as needed?
But these aren’t Mass Audubon’s arguments. They argue for peace, quiet, and safety. In their Alert against Sunday hunting, Mass Audubon omitted the critical word “bow” hunting, which, in fairness, is the only type of hunting being proposed. Audubon’s omission is misleading – some believe intentionally deceitful – evoking echoes of gunfire on the Sabbath. Nothing could be further from the truth. Mass Audubon apparently has neither knowledgeable bow hunters nor scientific wildlife managers with a reasonable voice on their advisory board. Some believe with increasing conviction that its leadership has outdated, vestigial elements obstructive to the development of a cooperative coalition of sportsmen and naturalists that would best benefit wildlife and conservation in Massachusetts.
Mass Audubon claims, “During hunting season, there’s only one day a week where families can be in the woods in peace and quiet and not worry about hunters.”
In reality, bow hunting commences silently and unobtrusively every mid-October, ending unnoticeably in November, with no disruption to hikers, bikers, and other non-hunting outdoorsmen and women, whose presence, to be fair, is much more evident, visually and vocally. Bow hunters go to extremes to be invisible, even silencing their strings and dampening the vibrations of their bow limbs. Archers, however, don’t seek to restrict the far more noisy movements of hikers during their brief season. They have always safely shared the woods. In truth, from January through mid-October – the deer season is over. The forests are devoid of deer hunters for 9 ½ months, including periods of all the best weather.
As the Trustees of Reservations and Land Trusts have found, people seldom encounter or are even aware of bow hunters on their huntable lands. Archers are successfully and safely employed to resolve deer problems even in heavily populated urban areas like Philadelphia. Their presence could not be more peaceful, safe, or quiet. Mass Audubon’s implied characterization of bow hunters is inaccurate, unfair, and unduly worrisome. Their unrealistic, infectious Bambi-mentality paranoia is unwarranted.
Mass Audubon wants peace and safety in the woods. If our vital plants – our ground shrubs, wildflowers, and baby trees that are the foundation of our supportive habitat for all of our wildlife – had a voice, they’d be the ones justifiably begging for peace from the devastation of overabundant deer eating them to the ground. From their perspective, a realistic Bambi movie would be more like Attila the Hun and his hordes plundering emergent flora. Deer love forests, but forests don’t love deer.
Safety? How about considering greater safety for the 11,000 victims of deer-vehicle collisions every year in Massachusetts? How about greater safety for the thousands of us annually infected with Lyme disease? For a true perspective on safety, look to New York’s recent studies showing zero bow hunter-inflicted accidents. One is more likely to be injured by a ping-pong opponent.
Bow hunting any day of the week, all over the country has proven safe, peaceful, and quiet – and far more beneficial than its opponents are willing or enlightened enough to acknowledge. The archers in camouflage collectively perform a great and indispensible service for us all. Regretfully, Mass Audubon is far out of touch with and unappreciative of the hunter-naturalist tradition that their namesake John James Audubon epitomized.
From all of us bow hunters, thanks, Anne Gobi and Matt Beaton. Our public needs and deserves the facts, not the spread of counterproductive, divisive misperceptions.
The public has a right to say no to bow hunting on Sundays – but not in the name of peace, quiet, and safety.