Is the tail wagging the dog in Albany?

For outdoor enthusiasts who may also hunt and fish, it seems as though weíre always faced with one challenging policy or law change after another. Itís bad enough that we must constantly be battling with our own state government over major issues that negatively would impact both conservation as well as our long established heritage activities, but thatís been the case in recent years.

What is confusing to many is why all these proposed changes, laws and regulations are being pushed on us, one after the other? If certain activities such as hunting, fishing and trapping were truly causing a problem, okay, we could live with the need to make some changes to correct it. But thatís not the case. In fact, these activities are critical to generating money for conservation as well as managing many species that would otherwise truly present major problems if left to their own natural devices.

When I was a youth, thanks to what is supply and demand in the fur industries, fox pelts were worth next to nothing and the NYS Conservation Department allowed them to be hunted or trapped year-round to attempt managing their ever-swelling population. Despite that, the fox population kept increasing to the point that a serious rabies epidemic occurred because responsible hunters and trappers hated to waste what might have been or could eventually be a valuable natural resource. The state finally had to enlist paid government trappers to help cull the overabundant fox numbers, and eventually the disease played itself out.

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