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Bears chasing Safari Club from Reno to Atlantic City
by David Farside
Jul 18, 2011 | 1119 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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The recent dispute over black bear hunting in Nevada reminds me of the time my mother took me to see Walt Disney’s animated movie “Bambi.”

Like most 7-year-old kids, I was fascinated with the stunning color, talking animals and beautiful music. The film was based on a book by Australian writer Felix Salten. At the time, the plot of the story and the dialogue of the characters didn’t have too much meaning to me. Later in life, I understood the subplot and the theme of Salten’s book.

In the middle of the movie, Bambi’s mother is killed by a hunter. After the movie, I asked my mother why the deer was shot. She told me, “There will always be bad men in the forest of life. It’s man’s way. Brutality toward animals and each other distinguish us as humans,” she said. “Since man is one of the few animals that murder his own kind, he thinks nothing of killing other animals just for the sport of it.”

In December last year, the Nevada Wildlife Commission approved legalized black bear hunting. Regulations have authorized a quota of 45 tags allowing the killing of up to 20 bears. No more than six of them can be females. I don’t know how you can really tell the difference between a male and a female bear at 300 yards with a laser telescope and rangefinder mounted on a high-powered rifle, but if we can see through brick walls from an altitude of 3,000 feet in Afghanistan and kill innocent civilians sleeping in their bedroom, I suppose anything is possible. The bear-killing season would run from Aug. 20 through Dec. 31 or close once the limits are reached. I wonder how anyone will know when the limit is reached.

A citizens group called No Bear Hunt Nevada, led by Kathryn Bricker of Zephyr Cove, has filed a lawsuit attempting to block the hunt. The group claims public noticing, economic impacts and the actual need for the hunt have to be reviewed and addressed by the a higher authority in a court of law.

“People are overwhelmingly against it,” Bricker said. She will present more than 10,000 signatures of people opposed to the kill at a hearing scheduled for Aug. 1, in Carson City.

The hearing should be a David and Goliath battle worthy of national attention. Representing 53,000 members, the international Safari Club, claiming it pursues “strategic responses to issues to guarantee the hunter’s voice is heard,” has filed a motion in Nevada state court requesting to be included in the lawsuit. The organization argues the hunt is “well-reasoned and justified.”  Bricker claims their intervention isn’t justified. Doug Burdin, attorney for the Safari Club, said this is a unique opportunity to hunt the black bear and, “It would be unfortunate if this opportunity got taken away at the last minute.” Unfortunate for the hunter or the bear?

Burdin went on to say that an injunction blocking the hunt “would impair Safari Club’s interest in the sustainable use of Nevada’s wildlife.” But is he threatening Reno by his innuendo?

Safari has held 20 of its 39 international conventions in Reno. According to the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority (RSCVA), the display of stuffed exotic animals from the wild draws about 20,000 hunters from 50 countries around the world. The RSCVA pointed out that, “All exhibitors and attendees spend about $21.5 million in direct spending in our local economy. ... By bringing in people from all over the world we hope they can recognize and see and experience the resort, and that they will come back.” But will they come back? Is Burdin threatening to take the annual Safari Club convention someplace else if we don’t have a black bear hunt? Maybe they’ll set their tents up in New Jersey.

New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)  has just approved annual black bear hunting supported by none other than the Safari Club. The bear hunt, scheduled between Dec. 5 and 10 of this year, was approved without public scrutiny or the science behind it. Sound familiar?

The political plot, subplot and the theme of this movie is obvious. If the Safari Club moves its annual convention to New Jersey, we definitely will have a legal black bear hunt and provide hunters with a sustainable use of our wildlife. The little black bear will never chase the giant Safari Club to the boardwalk of Atlantic City.

David Farside is a Sparks resident and political activist. The polemics of his articles can be discussed at farsidian2001@yahoo.com. His website is www.thefarsidechronicles.com.
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