First of all, welcome to the Oregon Outdoor Council. We are very excited and honored to offer the opportunity for all sportsmen and women to stand together in our collective fight for the future of fish and wildlife conservation. Over the past twenty years we have watched as our opportunities in the field have vanished and the costs to recreate have skyrocketed. Most of us have felt helpless as we have witnessed the destruction of our once thriving elk and deer herds while the anti’s have pushed their agenda of using predators to stop all hunting. They have been successful in banning the most effective management tools available to manage bear and cougar populations and are now using the wolf as their latest fundraising tool. Like it or not they have been very successful because of their deep pockets and exploitation of our wildlife to further their cause. Until now we have fought their attacks as individuals with no direction or long-term plan to ensure the continuing success of the North American Conservation Model. We all know that as sportsmen and women, we are the backbone of fish and wildlife conservation, but every time a “conservation” organization is mentioned in the media it is followed by a list of anti-hunting groups. If you aren’t’ angered by the continuing attacks on our way of life as not only sportsmen, but as contractors, ranchers, farmers, loggers and every-day hard working Oregonians then maybe it’s time to pay attention.
The Oregon Outdoor Council was formed as an umbrella organization for all other sportsmen groups, outdoor sporting good manufacturers and sportsmen with the idea that our collective voice is stronger and more effective than our individual voice. In 1994 the Humane Society of the United States and Oregon Humane Society successfully banned the use of dogs and bait for bear and cougar management because sportsmen didn’t speak with one voice. We were splintered and fell victim to the “I don’t do that” syndrome. We failed to realize that by not speaking with one voice we would all lose in the end. Flash forward six years to 2000 when the Humane Society attempted to ban trapping in Oregon. Not only did sportsmen stand together, but we partnered with our friends in the ranching, farming and timber communities to defeat the anti’s by a very large margin at the polls. Unfortunately, the hard work and relationships that we established during the trapping campaign have faded as no entity worked to continue our collective success. The Oregon Outdoor Council is already working to re-kindle our old alliances and relationships and is working closely with them to proactively push our agenda to support fish and wildlife conservation.
We are committed to building the largest coalition and membership of sportsmen and women that Oregon has ever seen. In doing so, we will put sportsmen back on the map and force our elected officials to not only listen to us, but know that without our support they face an uphill battle. We must educate our elected leaders that sportsmen, not anti-hunting special interest groups, fund 100% of fish and wildlife conservation and that without us fish and wildlife management wouldn’t exist. Elected officials are not the only policy makers that we must engage. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Commission is appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Oregon Senate. Once in their positions they are the most influential body on our fish and wildlife policy. Approaching them with one voice and educating them is critical to regaining opportunity and ensuring scientific data, not junk science, is used to manage our fish and wildlife. Too often they are swayed by junk science and political pressure from the anti’s when sound biological data gathered from years worth of work is clearly the answer. Sportsmen are one of the largest voting blocks in the nation, but only if we stick together and focus on our issues. In order to move forward we must join together and become a driving force.
In building our organization the first organization we partnered with was the Oregon Hunters Association. OHA stepped up to the plate and contributed an initial $25,000 to our efforts and stands ready to push forward with our first priority, returning key management tools for managing bear and cougar populations to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Yes, that means the use of dogs and bait. The explosion of bear and cougar populations has led to the largest reduction in elk and deer numbers Oregon has seen in recent history. The studies have been done and the results are clear, predation is the leading cause of elk and deer mortality. If we don’t work together and return the only effective bear and cougar management tools we can guarantee that the ever-increasing populations of wolves will finish the job. Don’t think so? Just look at Idaho, they still have the use of dogs and bait for bear and cougar management, yet wolves have decimated their elk and deer populations. Oregon will be even worse.
As you will see, we have set up a sophisticated communication platform including our website, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages that will allow us to keep sportsmen and women informed and armed with information key to our success. We have built a living, breathing forum that will allow our members to have a voice like never before. The time has come for us to stand together and fight back. Get Informed, Get Involved. Join the Oregon Outdoor Council today, your small contribution of $10 goes a long ways to keeping out hunting heritage!
Oregon Outdoor Council