February 12, 2014 – by Dominic Aiello, President
Picture this: deer and elk season is approaching, the fall Chinook runs are building, the weather is changing, and you’re brimming with excitement to purchase new gear! Most dedicated hunters or anglers know the excitement that time of year brings. It can be hard to focus on anything else.
I find it important to slow down and give this some thought: are the companies I’m buying from supporting my lifestyle? I consider where I spend my cash similar to voting. If I spend my money with companies that support my lifestyle, I’m voting to help protect my lifestyle. With that said, did you know where you spend your money may be contributing to your inability to draw the elk tag? Yes, the elk tag you’ve been spending $8 for a chance at drawing for the past 14 (or so) years! You also may not know the money you spend on gear, beer, or food could be supporting the removal of hatchery fish from local rivers!
It’s true, and I’ll show you! Through cash or in-kind donations to anti-sportsmen organizations here in Oregon, the following companies are hurting YOU and our hunt-able/fish-able wildlife populations in Oregon!
Let’s get to it! Here are the “5 Most Shocking Companies Hurting YOU!”
#1 REI: On the surface seems like a great company – rewards program, good return policy, and they give back to the community. There is only one problem – who they give back to! They do not donate to the Rocky Mountian Elk Foundation, not the Oregon Hunters Association, not the US Sportsman’s Alliance – no, they support (in part) anti-sportsmen groups directly and indirectly! The groups they support include Defenders of Wildlife, Oregon Wild, Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands, Portland Audubon Society, and Conservation Alliance. They have helped fund the reintroduction and expansion of the wolf in the lower 48, delayed sensible state based wolf management through lawsuits, regularly blocked logging (scientifically proven prime ungulate habitat), and much more!
#2 Patagonia: By supporting Cascadia Wildlands, Predator Defense, Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands, and the Native Fish Society, Patagonia earns the number two spot in our anti-sportsmen company directory! I’ve volunteered with other hunters that wear Patagonia and posed the question – why are you wearing that? The response is generally “they make good clothes.” While I cannot deny that, once again I have to ask why would you support a company that finances organizations that are intent to eliminate (or drastically reduce) your ability to enjoy your way of life? I like this analogy – if you friend stole from you, would you still be friends with him? I guess most would answer with a resounding, no! Companies supporting the previously mentioned organizations are essentially stealing from you. They’re stealing from you, your children, and your grandchildren by eliminating or reducing the ability to successfully hunt and fish.
#3 Ninkasi Brewing supports the three biggest Oregon based anti-sportsmen environmental groups – Predator Defense, Oregon Wild, and Cascadia Wildlands. Here’s a sample of what Ninkasi Brewing has helped fund: A lawsuit to stop coyote hunting, fought to block sensible cougar management, a lawsuit to stop ODFW from removing problem wolves, and much more! Jamie Floyd (Owner) identifies himself as “Social Liberal and Fiscally Conservative.” Fiscally conservative individuals appreciate our free market and appreciate consumers’ ability to choose. So email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell him to stop hurting sportsmen or you’ll be finding a new favorite brew!
#4 Gerber is by far the most surprising and troubling company found in our top 5. They sell hunting products, so why would they be supporting anti-sportsmen groups!? For this reason, they earn the number four listing in our anti-sportsmen company directory! Don’t get defensive, sadly it’s the truth Gerber supports Oregon Wild, and the proof is below! Head over to their Facebook page and request they end their support of Oregon Wild! The OOC even attempted to reach out to Gerber upon discovery of their support for Oregon Wild, but they were unwilling to respond.
#5 Final on our list is InterMedia Outdoors: They earned the number five seed by supporting the Native Fish Society. Seems legit – who doesn’t want “native fish?” More fish equal more opportunity for sportsmen right? Not in this case!! The Native Fish Society successfully sued the federal government over the hatchery program on the Sandy River in Oregon. The problem is that 80% of the fish in at least one major waterway are hatchery.
What does this mean for Oregon sportsmen? Time will tell, but the future doesn’t look like a bright fall chinook. What is most troubling is that similar to Gerber, InterMedia works in the hunting and fishing industry! They’re hurting their customers! Not a great business model if you ask me. Contact the VP of Strategic Sales & Marketing and tell him NOT to support anti-sportsmen groups!! Ted Gramkow: ted.gramkow@IMOutdoors.com
Honorary #6 (UPDATE 8/6/14): Earning an honorary spot in the Oregon Outdoor Council’s “Most Shocking Companies Hurting YOU” is The Original Muck Boot Company for recently hosting a fundraiser for the LARGEST anti-hunting organization, The Humane Society of the United States. You can read more here, The Original Muck Boot Controversy: What Every Company Should Learn From It!
After this, you may feel lost – how do you ensure you’re spending your money with a company that supports your way of life? The truth is you can’t always focus on it or you’ll stress yourself out, but here are two tips I like to follow:
The first recommendation I have is: If you LOVE a specific product, especially local products, or frequent a local company, check into who they donate to. For example, my wife and I LOVE this local sushi place, real authentic and quality sushi. When we have a Friday date night, we usually end up there. It would have hurt to find out they supported (for example) the native fish society, but I still checked! Luckily for us, they don’t.
My second recommendation is: Ensure the companies you purchase outdoor related gear from support sportsmen! It’s pretty clear, no company selling sportsmen related equipment should be donating to anti-sportsmen groups, period. Go to their website, see who they donate to, ask the customer service desk in the store, do whatever you need to do to ensure they support you and what you do! If they don’t, let them know why you’ll be going elsewhere and ask them to pass the message along to the appropriate person.
To help, here are a few companies we at the Oregon Outdoor Council recommend (we received ZERO compensation, support, or any other form of gain for listing these companies):
Bass Pro Shops
Your local archery, angling, gun, or hunting supply establishment!
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