Environment Forum

U.S. hunters, anglers weigh in on climate change

When people think of hunting and fishing politicians in America — at least prominent ones – two things spring to mind: 1. Republican and 2. Climate change skeptic. Former President George W. Bush, his vice president Dick Cheney and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin all fall into both categories.

But the hunting and fishing crowd — widely seen as reliably Republican because of that’s party’s successful portrayal of itself as the defender of God and guns — has also started to take note of climate change. After all, hunters and anglers are in the outdoors in pursuit of wildlife season after season, year after year.

But what may concern some Republican strategists is that many of them also accept the science of climate change, which overwhelmingly points to fossil fuel emissions as the main cause driving global warming.

This may help explain why Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina broke ranks with his party to outline a compromise to limit carbon emissions in a Sunday New York Times opinion piece he co-wrote with Democratic Senator John Kerry. Hunters and anglers in the U.S. South are widely seen as part of the Republican base and his call for action was saluted on Wednesday during a teleconference call hosted by the South Carolina Wildlife Federation (SCWF) and involved other outdoor groups.

I have observed things in my life time that suggest that significant impacts have already been felt here in our state,” said Clinch Heyward, the 60-year-old chairman of the SCWF.

Have Defenders of Wildlife lost key fund raiser: Gov. Palin?

Sarah Palin’s looming departure from the governor’s office in Alaska may deprive at least one animal welfare group of a key source of green.

The moose-hunting and ultra-conservative hockey mom shot to national prominence last year as John McCain’s vice presidential running mate on the losing Republican ticket. Palin, who in a surprise move said on Friday that she would step down this month as Alaskan governor, remains a political lighting rod who is loved and loathed in equal measure.

 This polarizing profile has made her a major fund raising force for the Republican Party. It has also made her a focal point for groups staunchly opposed to her politics and policies.

Palin strikes back on wolf allegations

Sarah Palin has struck back at Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund, which is running a video accusing the Alaska governor of planning to expand the aerial hunting of wolves in her state.

The graphic video, part of the group’s “Eye on Palin” campaign, is narrated by Hollywood star Ashley Judd and has generated a lot of media attention this week.

Here is the full text of Palin’s brief statement, which was released late on Tuesday:

A first-hand look at trapping

Few animal welfare issues are as emotive as trapping. For some people it is a barbaric relic of an unenlightened past that inflicts needless cruelty on wild animals.

For others especially in places such as the Canadian and American countryside it is a way of life passed down through generations as well as a welcome, seasonal supplement to rural incomes.

Photographer Jessica Rinaldi and I went out recently with an east Texas trapper to take a first-hand look at the industry. You can see our story, pegged to the U.S. recession and global economic downturn, here.

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