Saturday, February 18, 2017

Hunters fear loss of access if public lands sold, transferred - Full Article

Zach Urness , Statesman Journal
Feb. 16, 2017

In the coalition of groups opposed to the sale or transfer of federal public lands in the West, no one plays a more important role than hunters, say experts.

A crucial demographic for Republicans in the West, hunters have made it difficult for conservative lawmakers to advance legislation disposing of public lands, said Jim Moore, a political science professor at Pacific University.

“It’s not a group that Republicans want to piss off,” Moore said. “They are a core group — NRA members and more Teddy Roosevelt-style Republicans. Their opinion matters a lot.”

One reason hunters have bucked the Republican platform and opposed public land transfers is a fear of losing access to hunting grounds.

“(We) adamantly oppose the transfer of our public lands out of public hands,” said Duane Dungannon, state coordinator for the Oregon Hunters Association. “We also oppose the transfer or federal lands to the state. These are the public’s lands, not the government’s lands...”

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