Saturday, January 28th, 2023
Saturday, January 28th, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

Dove hunt movement gains momentum

By Bill
Parker
Editor

Lansing — The grass-roots effort to defeat an anti-hunting
ballot proposal here in Michigan is gaining steam.

Citizens for Wildlife Conservation is the umbrella group that
was formed by Michigan sporting and conservation organizations to
fend off an anti-hunting proposal that will be on the ballot this
fall. The anti-hunting group Citizens to Restore the Dove Hunting
Ban – backed by the Humane Society of the United States – collected
enough signatures last year to put a proposal to end Michigan’s
dove-hunting season on the November ballot.

“This is not a dove-hunting issue. That’s what people have to
understand. This is an anti-hunting issue and has been ever since
the Humane Society of the United States got involved,” said Sam
Washington, a CWC board member and the executive director of the
Michigan United Conservation Clubs. “If sportsmen do not get on
board it will only be a heartbeat before they (HSUS) come back for
something else, like bowhunting. Any attack on one type of hunting
is an attack on all hunting.”

Sponsoring organizations that have contributed at least $15,000
each to CWC include MUCC, the Michigan Bear Hunters Association,
the Michigan Hunting Dog Federation, Safari Club International, the
National Wild Turkey Federation, the National Rifle Association,
and the United States Sportsmens Alliance. Many smaller groups also
have pledged support – both hands-on and financial.

“We had a meeting last week, and every time we hold one of these
we see more and more new faces around the table,” Washington told
Michigan Outdoor News. “A lot of the state groups are starting to
respond.”

Jim Schaeffer, CWC treasurer, said the group is also receiving
support from out-of-state organizations.

“The Kenai Peninsula (Alaska) Chapter of SCI donated $2,500,”
Schaeffer said. “That’s probably a little payback to Michigan for
helping them out on past issues. We also received a $1,000
contribution from the Indiana State Chapter of the National Wild
Turkey Federation. Ninety-five percent of the money we raise will
come from Michigan, but it’s nice to get support from out of state,
too.”

Locally, “the Michigan Trappers Association, the Michigan Duck
Hunters Association, the Michigan United Coon Hunters, and a lot of
other smaller organizations have kicked in,” Schaeffer said.

CWC has raised about $200,000 of the estimated $3.2 million
needed to launch an effective media campaign to counter the effort
of HSUS.

HSUS is the nation’s largest anti-hunting group and reportedly
has upwards of $100 million in assets after joining forces last
year with another anti-hunting group, the Fund For Animals, the
group that ushered in a ballot proposal in 1996 that would have
outlawed bear hunting with dogs and bait in Michigan. Sportsmen
rallied and soundly defeated that proposal.

“I think the campaign is going as well as it did back in 1996,”
Schaeffer said. “We’re about on the same track as then.”

CWC has launched a website, www.cwcmi.org, and is accepting
monetary donations at the site. It is also holding a raffle with a
grand prize of 40 acres of hunting land in the Upper Peninsula.
There are 18 prizes in the raffle including guns, bows, and guided
hunting and fishing trips.

A fund-raiser is planned for Aug. 16 at Laurel Manor in
Livonia.

“The key to winning this thing now, is money,” Schaeffer said.
“Cash contributions are a big thing. We’re raising money $5 at a
time. We have a long way to go, but we’re on track.

“Anti-hunting extremists brought this fight to Michigan. Now,
millions of dollars are going to be spent on advertising campaigns
in the media instead of in the ground where it will really do
something to support wildlife.”

Schaeffer said CWC is in the process of educating the public and
fellow hunters about the proposal.

“The big thing people have to realize is that this is not about
dove hunting. It’s about all hunting,” Schaeffer said. “That’s the
stance we have to take, because if we lose in November, they will
be back for another species.”

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