This is a long feature on the interest group, Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, a group I have greatly criticized because of their anti-carnivore stance and ties to reactionary, anti-wildlife interests in the West like livestock associations. The name is misleading, some say Orwellian because Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife’s various incarnations in a handful of Western states have one thing in common — they are only in favor of a fraction of the wildlife.
Each state’s SFW runs differently. The worst is probably Wyoming’s SFW, where they support continuing feeding elk in the winter on the state’s many disease ridden elk feedlots. In Wyoming SFW can’t even bring itself to oppose the statewide destruction of the scenic national forest land by the oil industry. They have not joined the coalition to save the Wyoming Range, for example. I suppose their solution to the destruction of wildlife habitat by the gas wells must be to sprinkle hay here and there between the wells.
They are also not clearly in favor of keeping wildlife public. The have failed to oppose the various elk farms and elk shooting operations in Idaho, which besides not being fair chase, represent the privatization of wildlife — the turning of wildlife into livestock. Their natural constituency is the rich person who doesn’t want to work hard to hunt, e.g., Dick Cheney, although no doubt some of their members are real hunters.
Having lived in Utah and Idaho all my life (except for graduate school), I didn’t realize that these shooting farms represent the model of the old aristocracy in Europe and also in states with little public land where the Dick Cheney kind of “hunters” have servants drive the game to the them. SFW has close ties to reactionary Republican power structure in Idaho and Utah (note, not all Republican office-holders are part of this).
In their favor, SFW, especially in Utah and Idaho, have carried out projects that protect and enhance habitat for mule deer.
Hal Herring has a long feature article on them in the latest High Country News. Predator hunters for the environment. Feature Article. June 25, 2007 by Hal Herring.
Note: in the past I gave the executive directors of SFW for Idaho, Nate Helm; and for Wyoming, Robert Wharff all the space they wanted to explain their positions.
Here is a link to the past discussion. It was last December. You can take it from there to read all their postings and my replies. My Reply to Nate Helm. Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife-Idaho
Here is the sort of thing SFW-Wyoming doesn’t do. Groups challenge BLM well permits on the Atlantic Rim [WY]. Billings Gazette. The appeals came from the Wyoming Wildlife Federation, the National Wildlife Federation, Biodiversity Conservation Alliance, the Wyoming Outdoor Council, the Wyoming Wilderness Association, the Western Watersheds Project, the Colorado Environmental Coalition, the Center for Native Ecosystems and The Wilderness Society.