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July 10, 2004

NRA vs. Hunters

The National Rifle Association's blind GOP partisanship is now putting it increasingly at odds with its own members, particularly hunters and other outdoors sportspeople who depend on wild habitat-- habitat that the GOP increasingly supports destroying in favor of the interests of big business.

Highlighting the clash is the NRA's denunciation of the Sierra Club at a recent convention of the Outdoor Writers of America, a pro-hunting journalism group that is normally an NRA ally.

But after this NRA attack on the Sierra Club, the board of directors sents a letter denouncing the NRA's attack.

As the article notes, the NRA is supporting the Bush administration's regulations that have undermined Clinton-era regulations to limits road construction on federal land. Yet studies by hunting and fishing groups show such roadless areas are the best places for outdoor sportsmen:

The Bush and Kerry campaigns are courting hunters and anglers, whose numbers are large in swing states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania and who tend to turn out to vote. In the 2000 election, the "hook and bullet" vote went mostly to George W. Bush and gun rights were a decisive factor, according to several major hunting and conservation groups. But according to these same organizations, resource extraction efforts by the Bush administration on prime hunting and fishing habitat have upset many outdoorsmen...

The best hunting and fishing in Idaho and Oregon -- as measured by the size and number of big game taken and fish caught -- occur in roadless areas, according to two new studies by Trout Unlimited, a conservation group. The studies were presented at the convention.

Kerry and Edwards, if they highlight their environmental positions, can campaign as better friends of most gun owners than the NRA-- a direct foray into the rural voting strongholds of the GOP.

Posted by Nathan at July 10, 2004 08:13 AM