Sometimes, sportsmen get the reputation as being an apathetic bunch. Like the lazy old watch dog that sits faithfully by the master’s side, but too indifferent to make much of a racket.
Not this time.
Sportsmen and women across Michigan made hundreds of calls last week to members of the House Committee on Natural Resources, Tourism, & Outdoor Recreation regarding House Bill 4684. According to a letter received from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last week, the language of HB 4684 risked losing roughly $25 million in federal fish and wildlife restoration dollars.
According to one office, it received over 325 e-mails alone. In addition to that, committee members also heard concerns from hundreds of phone calls, and a crew of sportsmen in blaze orange hats who attended the committee meeting.
But let’s also give credit to our legislators and members of the committee, to whom credit is due. They listened to us, and they acted.
Special credit should also be given to Committee Chairman Representative Frank Foster (R – Petoskey) and HB 4684 sponsor Representative Greg MacMaster (R – Kewadin). Both heard our concerns with open ears and worked to make changes to help keep us from losing these critical fish and wildlife dollars.
At this point, another opinion on the new language has been sought from the Fish and Wildlife Service, and it remains to be seen at this point if the changes will fix the problem.
But sometimes it is good to show that you care deeply about conservation. Sometimes, it can be just as simple as an e-mail or a phone call. There are many sportsmen and women out there, but how many of us are willing to speak up about it?
Last week, hundreds showed they were willing to step up on short notice. It was just plain good to see. We have faith that this was a start to reigniting the fire of conservation that is within hundreds of thousands of sportsmen and women across this state.
Because, after all, what good is a watch dog that doesn’t bite?
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