Why hunters dominate wildlife policy in Wisconsin.
One of the major themes of my book, Wildlife Politics, is that small groups such as hunters and ranchers have dominated policymaking on issues such as wolves and grizzlies despite the fact that they represent a small portion of the population that is every declining. Despite their declining numbers, their dominance in policymaking is, if anything, increasing at both state and national levels. A story in the Wisconsin State Journal by Ron Seely provides insight into a major reason for this dominance: institutionalism—The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is dominated by hunting interests so they make ever more “hunter friendly” policies such as allowing expanded killing of wolves and bobcatys in state parks, hunting with dogs, and extending hunting seasons. How do they achieve this? Seely’s article describes how there is a “Conservation Congress” that advises Wisconsin’s DNR on policy and this group is dominated by hunters. When non-hunters such as animal rights activists are elected to the Congress, they are warned they will be “censured or removed” if they speak against hunting. Moreover, the chairman of the group, Ron Bohmann, says that the recent push to expand hunting of wolves, use of dogs, extending seasons, is because “because as the number of hunters drops, they lose their power to influence decision-makers” and "If we don't fight for what we have, we'll lose it," Bohmann said. "I think we're more active now." In other words, the fewer hunters, the more extreme positions they push and even bigger gap grows between the views of the majority of Wisconsin’s and their Department of Natural Resources. This perfectly illustrates institutionalism’s effect on public policy that I speak of in my book. See the article at http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/madison-resident-hopes-to-bring-voice-of-non-hunters-to/article_a2d6fdb2-9e3f-11e2-9f42-001a4bcf887a.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=user-share
Leave a Reply.
During my research for the book, I noticed that there was no blog available for sharing informaton on wildlife conservation and thus I set up this blog to accomplish this purpose. Please share any informaticoncerning issues related to wildife policy and politics. I welcome feedback from users concerning this blog and website.